Halloween is celebrated around the world, with each country having their own interpretations, see a fascinating list below of a few countries of how Halloween is celebrated and how each country see it as.
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‘Trick or treating’ was known as ‘Mischief Night’ …
At one point in time children would carve designs on large beetroots and carry them through the streets singing and knocking door to door asking for money. Turnip Lanterns were seen to protect homes from the spirits so many rural areas would place them on their gateposts.
American ‘trick or treating’ has become popular in England in recent years and has become a popular passtime.
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It is believed that this is the birthplace of Halloween, its origins stemming from ancient Celtic and Pagan rituals and a festival called Samhain, or Samhuinn (end of the light half of the year) that took place thousands of years ago. Bonfires were lit and the children would dress up in costumes to spend the evening trick or treating. After this most people would attend parties with their neighbours and friends were games such as ‘snap – apple’ were played amongst other games.
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France is one of the nations in the world that Halloween is not celebrated this is because they want to honour the dead and departed ancestors. It was seen as an “American” holiday and was virtually unknown in the country until 1996. A combination of the French love of parties, fete’s and costume events, and some simple crass commercialism has led to the rapid rise of the holiday in France.
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In the 1990s ‘Halloween auf Deutsch’ became popular. Decorating starts mid-October and Halloween is used as a party theme. Martinstag is celebrated on 11 November and includes lantern processions and costumes.
Mexico, Latin America & Spain
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El Dia De Los Muertos, a joyous celebration in memory of family members and friends who have died. It’s a 3 day celebration and it is believed that the Gates of Heaven open up at midnight 31st October and the souls of children return to Earth to be reunited with their families. Nov. 2 souls of adults come down to join in celebration.
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Around the 1800s is when Halloween celebrations began, this is because of the Scottish and Irish immigrants who moved over. Just like the US, Canada celebrate Halloween on 31st October with decorations, trick or treating, and many themed parties.
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Korea has a harvest festival called Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day), as Halloween is not celebrated. They would also visit places where their ancestors used to live and feast on traditional foods.
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People flock to Bran Castle in Transylvania to celebrate Halloween where tours and parties are held, and many believe that Bran Castle’s resident was Vlad ‘The Impaler’ Tepes.
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Celebrated on 14th August, China have their own Hungry Ghost Festival. Buddhist Chinese belief, the dead are said to return to earth during the 7th month of the lunar calendar. The name for the festival derives from the belief that the ghosts without a proper funeral tribute are said to be very hungry from their journey back to earth. Family members would proper a giant feast on their night of return. This legend is celebrated through most parts of Eastern Asia, such as China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.
It is common for people who celebrate this festival to give many offerings to the dead. “Hell money,” which is a fake bank note made out of paper, is burned, as well as other papier-mâché creations of modern objects, such as cars, houses, clothes, and TVs, in hopes that the deceased can use them and be comfortable in the afterlife. Two weeks after the night of the festival, lanterns are set up at homes and are floated on rivers to help guide the dead back to their afterlife.
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‘Alla Helgons Dag’ known as All Saints Day. Unlike the UK, in Sweden Alla Helgons Dag is celebrated for a whole week, from 31st Oct – 6 Nov. Within that week of celebrations the first Saturday of November known as ‘red day’ is where work days are shortened to allow people to visit their loved ones that have passed away.