By Sydney M.
Halloween is not only one of the world’s oldest holidays, but it’s also one of the weirdest. Normally, if you go up to a stranger’s house and ask them for free stuff, you’ll be lucky if they don’t call the cops. However, once a year on October 31st, not only is there free candy, but there are also costumes, parties, decorations, and pumpkin carving.
Although Halloween is primarily enjoyed in North America and Ireland, here are a few examples of how different countries observe this spine-tingling holiday. (The following events occur on or around Halloween unless otherwise noted.)
JAPAN: Instead of Halloween, a similar festival called “O-Bon” is celebrated in July or August. Food and water are placed in front of photos of the deceased to celebrate their memory.
AUSTRIA: Bread, water, and a lighted lamp are left on a table to welcome dead souls back to earth on a night which Austrians believe to be brimming with cosmic energy.
CHINA: During “Teng Chieh”, food and water are placed in front of photos of dead family members. Additionally, lanterns are lit to help light the path of spirits as they roam the earth on this night.
ENGLAND: Although Halloween itself is largely not celebrated, a different holiday is held on November 5: Guy Fawkes Day. Held to celebrate the execution of a notorious traitor, there are traditionally bonfires and fireworks.
GERMANY: Knives are put away so returning spirits aren’t injured.
SWEDEN: “All Helgons Dag” is celebrated from October 31 to November 6, and schoolchildren get a day off! (Don’t we all wish could adopt this tradition in Canada?!)
MEXICO: Celebrated from October 31 to November 2, “El Dia de los Muertos” is a joyous occasion meant to remember family and friends who have died. Shrines and altars in homes are decorated with candies, pictures of the deceased, and more.
IRELAND: Thought to be the birthplace of Halloween, Ireland’s customs much resemble those in Canada: parties, trick-or-treating, and bonfires are all included in the festivities.
No matter how you celebrate the most eerie of all holidays, Happy Halloween to all!