Halloween around the World
Halloween is one of the oldest holidays in the world. Today you can now send Halloween cards by Hallmark to your friends who may be celebrating around the world in different ways, from Day of the Dead in Mexico to The Festival of Light in Japan and trick or treating in Britain. Find out how people celebrate Halloween around the world and is it really all about candy?
Day of the Dead, Mexico
Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is a traditional holiday in Mexico to celebrate the deceased. On November 1st and 2nd families gather together, building alters and dressing as sugar skulls to honor their loved ones from the past. Processions pass through the streets of cities many featuring huge sugar skulls surrounded by street dancers dressed as skeletons and musicians.
Trick or Treating, Britain
Traditionally children dress up in Halloween costumes and go trick or treating collecting candy or imposing awful tricks on anyone who doesn’t participate whilst adults dress up and attend Halloween parties. Apple Bobbing where children attempt to pick up apples out of a bucket of water using only their teeth, Pumpkin carving and Snap Apple are popular activities at Halloween.
The Brits also celebrate Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th which is the night that Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the House of Parliament with gunpowder. Bonfires are lit in parks with guy fawkes models which are thrown into the fire, fire work displays are set off and some guests wear and guy fawkes masks.
Many believe that Halloween originated in Ireland dating back to Pagan times over 2000 years ago. The Irish (and Scottish) celebrate Samhain which is a Gaelis festival marking the changing of the seasons. Traditionally it is celebrated at sunset on the October 31st where large bonfires are lit to ward off evil spirits that return to earth when the seasons change. People dress in scary costumes with large ugly masks to confuse the spirits and chase them away.
Süßes oder Saures, Germany
In Germany, catholics honour the deceased and visit the graves of their past family. During the week long festival, starting October 30th, Germans hide knives to ensure returning spirits will not be hurt in everyday life. The Germans also celebrate “Süßes oder Saures” which translates to Trick or Treating collecting candy similarly to many other Western countries.
Festival of Lanterns, Japan
Japan celebrate the Festival of Lanterns or the Festival of the Dead in late August. Many Japanese wear traditional Yukata dress and prepare special offerings for their deceased ancestors whilst hanging lanterns at the front of their houses to guide the spirits. Traditionally in small villages the path between the grace yard and the houses is swept clean, memorial stones are cleaned and community dancers are performed.
The Hungry Ghost Festival, China
The Hungry Ghost Festival is a traditional Buddhist festival held across Asia where ghosts of the dead and spirits are welcomed back to Earth. The event begins on the fifteenth day of the sevent month of the lunar year. During the festival, ghosts are offered food and fine goods including incense. Worshippers prepare paper ‘boats of the law’ in Buddish temples which are then burned in order to free the spirts of ancestors who have died in accidents and whose bodies were never burried.
P’Chum Ben, Cambodia
P’Chum Ben is a 15 day religious festival where Buddhists honor their dead offering food, gifts and music. Traditionally the monks chant continuously before Hells Gates open and when the gates are opened, and the spirits are free to roam, families make offerings to please them. During the festival families and friends gather to hear speeches from Monks and religious music.