Halloween is a secular festival that is celebrated annually on the 31st of October and is also referred to as the ‘All Hollows Day’ or ‘All Saints Day’. The festival has its roots in the Celtic beliefs of Samhain and is sometimes regarded as the Celtic New Year. It was a popular belief among the ancient Celts that on the occasion of Halloween, the dead and the deceased intermingle with the living world, transcending all boundaries of time and space. Hence, to avert the possible danger that these disembodied spirits might cause on the living world, the people would extinguish any form of fire in their homes, with the purpose of making them cold and unwanted. They would then adorn different types of ghoulish costumes and parade through the streets making loud noise and chaos.
Gradually, the customs and traditions of the festival became popular among the masses of ancient Rome. It is from this region that the modern day tradition of bobbling for apples became associated with the festival (apple being the symbol of the Roman goddess Pomona). It is only during the 1840’s that the festival was introduced in the States by the Irish immigrants who fled their country to escape from the disastrous potato famine. Today, Halloween is one of the most popular festivals celebrated by people all over the world. However, the rituals and traditions of the festival vary from place to place. Each region has their own unique way of celebrating the festival. For instance, in Austria, it is mandatory to leave bread and a lighted candle or lamp before sleeping at night. This is done to welcome the souls back from the dead.
People in China, on the other hand, observe the occasion of Halloween by placing food and water in front of the pictures of their diseased relatives. This is done with the aim of helping the dead to reach heaven, if they haven’t already done so. The Irish celebrate the festival by observing the same ancient rituals as was done during the time of the Celts, like lighting bonfires. In Japan, the festival is known as the Oban festival, which they celebrate by preparing delicacies and decorating with beautiful red lanterns that they light and then set afloat in the rivers. Similarly, different regions have their own set rituals and customs for celebrating the festival. Go through the information given below, to know more about the different ways in which Halloween celebrations take place around the world.
Halloween in America
In America, Halloween stands for a congregation of both religious and pagan beliefs, rituals and traditions. Irish immigrants were the ones to bring the festival to America. In 1840, during their escape from their country’s potato famine, they came to America and made it familiar with Halloween.
Halloween In Canada
As with any other parts of the world, Halloween is celebrated with much pomp and glory in Canada as well. The festival signifies that night of the year when, as per the ancient Celtic beliefs, the dead and the deceased rise from their graves and mingle with the world of the living.
Halloween In France
The festival of Halloween is observed on the 31st of October every year, to honor the dead and deceased. It is believed that every year, at this time, the spirits rise from their grave and mingle with the living. Although the festival is not a traditional holiday in France, it is celebrated every year by the locals.
Halloween In Germany
Though not a traditional festival in Germany, Halloween is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm. It is especially popular with the kids, who wait with much eagerness for the entire year, for the festival to arrive. Earlier, many people were unaware of the many customs and traditions associated with the festival and even of the festival in general.
Halloween In Italy
In the past few years, the popularity of Halloween has grown immensely in Italy. It has now become even more popular than the well-known Italian holiday ‘Carnevale’. However, there are differing opinions regarding the superiority of Carnevale over Halloween or vice versa.
Halloween In Japan
In Japan, Halloween is celebrated in the name of O-Bon. In fact, Halloween shares a great similarity with the O-Bon festival of Japan. Some people in Japan celebrate O-Bon from July 13 to 15, while some other observes the festival from August 13 to 15.
Halloween In Mexico
Halloween is an important festival in Mexico and the people here celebrate it with full enthusiasm. The festival is celebrated throughout the country. However, there are some or other variations in the mode of celebration from one state to another. In Mexico, Halloween is celebrated as an extended holiday, which lasts for three days.
Halloween In Spain
Halloween is one of the oldest and the most popular celebrations observed by people all over the world. However, the customs and traditions of celebrating the festival differ from place to place. Every country has its own unique pattern of observing the festival.
Halloween In UK
Some years ago, Halloween was called the Mischief Night in some parts of UK. The festival was associated with mischief making, in which people would take away their doors from their hinges. They would throw the doors into a pond or would take them along the away.