Celebrated annually on the 31st of October, Halloween is a secular holiday which is also known as the ‘All Hollows Day’ or ‘All Saints Day’. This celebration originates from the ancient Celtic beliefs of Samhain, which is also known as the Celtic New Year. The Celtics believed that during the night of Halloween, the dead mingle with the living and boundaries between time and space are broken. Therefore, in order to cast of any danger these spirits might cause on the living, people extinguished fires in their homes so that spirits would not be attracted to houses which seemed warm and inviting. They also adorned ghoulish costumes, parading through the streets and making loud noises and chaos to drive away the spirits.
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Celebration of Halloween Around the World
Over time, the customs and traditions of the festival became popular among the Romans. The Romans began the tradition of bobbing for apples (the apple was the symbol of the Roman goddess, Pomona), and it gradually became associated with the festival. In the 1840s, Irish immigrants, who went to America to escape the famine in Ireland, brought along with them the festival. Today, Halloween is one of the most popular celebrations held by different countries in the world.
However, it is interesting to note that although Halloween originated from one place, as it spread across the world many countries have created their own interpretations of the festival; there are no two countries alike when it comes to celebrating Halloween.
For example, Austrians leave bread and a lighted candle for departed souls before going to bed. On the other hand, China observes Halloween by offering food and water to their deceased relatives as an aid to help them reach heaven. If you travel to Ireland, Irish citizens celebrate by observing the same ancient rituals of the Celtics such as lighting bonfires. For the Japanese, the O-Bon festival, which is similar to Halloween, is a spectacle of lit red lanterns set afloat on the rivers.
These are just a few examples of how the different people around the world celebrate the festival. Read the information below to know more about how other countries observe Halloween:
Halloween in America
In America, Halloween means the merging of both religious and pagan beliefs, rituals, and traditions. In 1840, the Irish came to America as an escape from their country’s potato famine and introduced the holiday we now know and love.
Halloween in Canada
Much like the rest of the world, Halloween is celebrated with much excitement among Canadians! This traditional festival symbolizes that night of the year when the deceased emerge from the realm of the dead and interact with the world of the living.
Halloween in France
France joins the rest of the world on the 31st of October in celebrating and giving honor to the deceased. Although it is not a traditional holiday in the country, it is widely celebrated among locals who believe that the spirits ascend from the graves and mingle in our world on this fateful night.
Halloween in Germany
Similar to France, this is not a tradition in the country. However, it is one of the most anticipated festivals in the country. Children, in particular, eagerly await its coming throughout the whole year. In the past, many Germans were not aware of the existence of Halloween and the customs and traditions associated with it.
Halloween in Italy
The popularity of this festival has grown during the past few years. It has become so popular it is up to par with a well-known Italian holiday called “Carnevale”. Up until now, only Italians are able to answer which holiday is superior – and don’t be surprised to find a lot of opposing opinions!
Halloween in Japan
In Japan, Halloween is quite similar to the Japanese festival called “O-Bon”. However, while the rest of the world celebrates on October 31, the Japanese celebrate O-Bon from July or August 13 to 15.
Halloween in Mexico
Halloween is an important and nation-wide festival in Mexico, and Mexicans welcome it with full enthusiasm! They love it so much that the festival has been established as an extended holiday, allowing celebrants to live the spirit of Halloween for three days.
Halloween in UK
In some parts of the United Kingdom, Halloween became known as the “Mischief Night”. The festival was named as such because it was a night when people could get away with a little mischief-making; a common practice would to remove people’s doors, throw them into a pond, or carry them off into the night.