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Christians (believe) that people who (commit) major crimes or sins (go) straight to Hell

when they (die), where they (burn) forever. Minor sinners went to Purgatory, where
they (have) to suffer for their sins before going to Heaven. Belgians used to say “The
more cakes you eat on this night, the more souls you can save from Purgatory.”
Catholics in many countries make special food for the dead in the form of skulls, bones,
skeletons or even coffins. This food is then left on the grave or members of the family
have a picnic near the grave and sing and talk about their dead relatives. In Hungary
people believe that if you don’t go to the cemetery, relatives’ ghosts will come to your
house, and in parts of Sicily (Italy) it is believed that the dead come to houses to give
children presents.
In many parts of Africa, ancestors are considered to be important members of
the family, in the same way as living relatives. In Uganda ancestors are buried
near the houses and Acholi people go to them to pray before hunting or
harvesting or if there is a problem in the family. Some Central Africans carry
bags of fetishes, little figures that represent their ancestors, and these are
believed to have magic powers such as curing diseases. The Ashanti in Ghana
have special ceremonies known as Adae Kese. Stools represent the ancestors
and food and drink are placed in front of them. The ancestors are asked to
speak to the gods for them and to give them health and good fortune.

At the Japanese festival of Obon, 27 lanterns are lit to guide the spirits of the
ancestors on their annual visit to the family home. One ancient festival in
China (be) called Time of Sending Winter Clothes to Ancestors. Suits of winter
clothes (be) cut 9out of paper and addressed personally to the ancestors.
These were then (burn) and it was believed that the ancestors would be
warmly clothed. In China still today people try to ensure that their relatives will
go to the other world, even those who have done bad in their lives, by paying
monks to pray for these relatives. In Korea, one traditional ceremony for
honouring the dead, known as che-sa, is forbidden b the Christian church as it
breaks the commandments against idol worship and worship of other gods.

Australian aborigines used to cut up their dead relatives into


pieces and carry them round in bags for eating later. The idea
was that the spirit and wisdom of the dead relative would enter
the body of the living. Nowadays Australians do not usually
celebrate Halloween in the 31st October.
A Before reading. What do you do in the night of the 31st October? How
do you celebrate the day of the Death?

B Now read and answer the questions.

1. Which of the customs described above is more similar to your customs?


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2. Which tradition do you like the most?
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3. What do you think of the other customs?
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Find synonyms for: Write antonyms for:

Spirits Minor
Predecessor Warmly
Talk Later

C After reading.

11. Why do you think people celebrate the day of the Death?
12. What do you like doing in that day?
13. Are there any special customs in your country?