Unique Halloween and Halloween-like Traditions Around the World
People across the world celebrate Halloween on October 31 every year. Some people think Halloween is the time to dress up with some spooky attire, eat candies, holiday season, etc. They often forget about the roots of Halloween traditions. The origin of Halloween was from the Celtics festival of Samhain. In this festival, people light up the bonfire wear a scary costume to deflect the ghost of dead ones. Celts thought that the thin line between two worlds becomes useless on Halloween’s night, and ghosts or spirits knock around on the earth during this period. Over time Halloween got evolved into what we know today as common traditions such as pumpkin carving, scary outfits, tricks or treats, etc. , but Halloween is much more than that. Some global cultures follow their regional traditions to celebrate Halloween with the original idea of honoring dead souls.
Although most Americans celebrate their Halloween night doing tricks-or-treats and dressing up, other countries have their festive rituals.
The following are some Halloween and Halloween like traditions across the globe.
- Samhain: Scotland and Ireland
People consider Ireland as the place of origin of modern Halloween, which comes from the ancient Pangan and Celtics tradition and the festival named Samhain that used to take place a long time ago. As of now, both the countries (Scotland and Ireland) celebrate Halloween with their traditional rituals and religious connection. They celebrate Halloween with conventional food, bonfires, games, etc. They make barmbrack, a kind of Irish fruit cake containing coins, rings, buttons, etc. used for fortune-telling. For example, if someone gets the coin, it indicates that a person will soon be wealthy; if someone finds a ring in the cake, it soon shows marriage chances.
- DIA DE LOS MUERTOS: Mexico
To honor the dead soul, people from Mexico and Latin America celebrate DIA DE LOS MUERTOS-Day of the dead on November 1 and November 2. They believed that on October 31, God opens the doors of heaven so that children’s pure soul comes down to the earth and reunite with their before life families for 24 hours. On November 2, adults’ soul comes from heaven to join their before life families for the festive season.
- Day of Dracula: Romania
People worldwide cluster to celebrate Halloween at Vlad Tepes’s bran castle in Transylvania, Romania. Many of the tourist guide and inclusive holiday travel package in Romania offers Halloween parties and tour to the Count Dracula’s castle.
- Kawasaki Halloween parade: Japan
Around 4000 Halloween enthusiastic people gather in Kawasaki, Japan, at the end of every October for the Kawasaki Halloween parade. This parade is one of the giant parades in Japan happening for the past 21 years. The Kawasaki Halloween parade has some strict and standard guidelines to participate. You need to apply and pay a participation fee.
- Pangangaluluwa: The Philippines
The Philippines has a tradition called Pangangaluluwa in which children over there go door to door, sometimes in costumes, to sing and pray for those who got stuck between the two worlds.
- The Hungry Ghost Festival: Hong kong
Hong Kong people celebrate the hungry ghost festival on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month (which falls in between mid-August and mid-September). In some parts of East Asia, people believe that spirits turn restless during this period of the year and begin to roam around the world. During this festival, people feed the holy souls by giving them food and money to use in the afterlife. This ritual is a part of a month-long celebration, and it also includes food offerings and paper burning.
- Pitru paksha: India
Many people across India celebrate Pitru paksha for sixteen days during that Shukla paksha of Hindu month Bhadrapada. According to the Hindu religion and mythology, when someone dies, the Hindu god associated with death called Yamraj comes to take their soul to purgatory; in there, they find their last three generations. During the time of Pitru paksha, they are allowed to go back to their families. As per Hindu culture, to ensure the moksha of the dead ones, the family members are suggested to complete shraddha’s ritual, which includes fire ritual, also called Antimsanskar. In Pitru paksha, families offer soul food such as kheer, rice, lapse, etc.
- DZIEN ZADUSZNY: Poland
At the starting of November, people across Poland travel to the graveyard to visit their loved ones’ graves. People celebrate this occasion with flowers, candles, and offering prayers to the departed souls. On the next day, the families of departed souls attend a requiem mass for the holy souls.
- AWURU ODO FESTIVAL: Nigeria
People of Nigeria celebrates the Awuru odo festival with the belief that it marks the return of dearly departed souls. Awuru odo is an important ritual of Nigerians as it is celebrated once after every two years.
- Pchum Ben: Cambodia
Buddist families gather together to celebrate the festival of Pchum Ben to honor the departed soul. They celebrate Pchum Ben between the period of September end to mid of October. People offer food like sweet sticky rice and beans, wrapped in banana leaves. They also visit the temple and pray for the well being of the lovely soul.
- OGNISSANTI: Italy
People across Italy celebrate November 1 as All Saints’ day. They also refer to this day as Ognissanti and enjoy a national holiday on the same day. They offer fresh flowers to the dead’s grave ( both loved ones and strangers). Italiens also pay tribute to departed souls by lighting up red candles in their windows; after that, they set the table for spirits who may visit their place.
- All Saints Day and All Souls’ Day: worldwide
Many Catholics worldwide celebrate All Saints’ Day on November 1 and All Souls’ Day on November 2. It is the annual time to honor the death of saints’ who sacrificed their life for Catholics’ beliefs and show respect to all the heavenly departed souls. On this day, people visit the grave of their loved ones and go to mass to pray for the souls’ wellbeing. Germany has some different traditions to follow as in Germany, many people hide knives so that spirits returned from heaven do not accidentally harm themselves and other living persons.