Happy Halloween! A holiday that is heavily celebrated in the United States and around the world. Originating in Ireland, this holiday’s traditions have adapted from country to country. From Mexico to Italy, the day, attire and meaning range from throughout the world with celebrations of the dead while others highlighting a specific moment in history. Continue scrolling below to learn more about how halloween is celebrated throughout the world!
Some of the countries that do not celebrate Halloween are Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and majority of the countries in Africa.
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Some may or may not know that Halloween began in Ireland and is huge deal in this country. Originating from the ancient festival of Samhain, which celebrated the beginning of winter in pagan Ireland more than 2,000 years ago. For this holiday festivals take place across the country. The Púca festival celebrates the folklore behind the Celtic holiday and the Derry Halloween celebration in the northern part of the island.
Similar to the United States, children in Mexico also go trick-or-treating on October 31st but the real celebration, “el Día de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead), happens on Nov. 1 and 2. This Mexican holiday originated 3,000 years ago to pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. The Day of the Dead occurs when the gates of heaven open, allowing the spirit of a deceased loved one to be reunited with their still-living family. To prepare, family members cook a feast with the deceased’s favorite foods or leave gifts on their gravesite. This holiday is celebrated throughout the country from rural areas to the capital, Mexico City where everyone dresses in skull masks and attire while eating skull-shaped sweets.
During the Barriletes Gigantes, or “giant kites” festival, Guatemalans fill the sky with massive, colorful kites to honor the dead during the first couple days of November. The hand-painted kites are flown over the graves of loved ones who have passed away and are said to represent a bridge between the living and the dead.
Italians celebrate Ognissanti, or “all saints,” a festival with deep religious undertones on November 1st. This holiday is dedicated to all of the saints as a whole and is celebrated differently across many regions throughout Italy. In Sicily, the deceased rise from the dead to bring gifts to well-behaved children, while children in Sardinia go door to door to ask for offerings from the deceased. Romans will eat a meal near the gravesites of loved ones, while people in the region of Abruzzo and Trentino fashion lanterns by placing candles in pumpkins.
5. England (The UK)
Halloween’s popularity has continued to grown throughout Britian culture but Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th outweighs Halloween celebrations. On this day, British citizens celebrate the failed assassination of King James I by Guy Fawkes. Because Fawkes attempted to kill the king with barrels of gunpowder the holiday is celebrated with bonfires across the country. Trick-or-treating does happen but instead of for candy, children will walk around asking for a “penny for the Guy.” Guy Fawkes was found by the authorities and sentenced to death.
As Japan embraces Western traditions like Halloween, they have of course added their own influence. Japanese adults are the primary partakers in Halloween, wearing costumes and partying throughout the night. There are also a Holidays in Japan celebrating the deceased, including Obon.
China also has a Holiday to celebrate the dead called the Qingming festival. The event is also known as “Tomb Sweeping Day” and is celebrated in April. As the name entails, on this day Chinese people do one of the most respectful acts to honor their deceased loved ones by sweeping and cleaning their tombs.