In the United States, Halloween is celebrated with trick or treating, costumes and themed parties. Throughout the world, many countries celebrate holidays similar to Halloween, but these five countries celebrate in ways that are unique to their traditions and cultures:
Ireland is considered to be the birthplace of Halloween. Origins lead back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which took place thousands of years ago. Samhain was nothing more than a day to remember and honor the souls of the dead. It was believed that spirits returned to Earth every year, and large fires were lit to keep the evil spirits away. Today, Halloween includes dressing up to trick or treat, pumpkin carving and spooky stories. When people from Ireland and Scotland immigrated to the U.S. in the 19th century, they brought Halloween celebrations with them.
In Mexico, Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 2, which is believed to be when the spirits of ancestors return back home. To help the souls find their way, people light bonfires, set off firecrackers and hang lanterns on trees. Day of the Dead consists of all-day picnics beside the graves of dead relatives. This is a day of remembrance, happiness and celebration. Children run through the streets and collect coins, while at home people assemble altars that contain deceased loved one’s favorite food, drinks and photos.
Many of Japan’s Halloween celebrations today are very similar to those in the U.S. but are carried out in a way that reflects Japanese culture. People dress in cosplay costumes, and trick-or-treating is an organized event in communities. Instead of going house to house, children are given a map and must go to designated points to collect candy. Halloween has become popular in the last couple of years, but Japan still has a long tradition of celebrating Obon in the Summer, which consists of haunted houses, horror films and themed parties at restaurants and bars.
Halloween events in The Philippines usually begin a week before October 31 and do not end until November 2. The week starts with intensive cleaning around the cemeteries of loved ones, and Halloween night is spent preparing for the following days. On All Saint’s Day, celebrated on November 1, Filipino cemeteries and memorial parks are packed with family and friends singing, dancing and celebrating their ancestors. All Soul’s Day is similar but celebrated on November 2 for people who do not want to face the crowd the day before.
In recent years, Halloween has become more popular than Italy’s own Carnevale. Italy created the festival in the 80s, based on U.S. films such as, Friday the 13th, E.T. and Halloween. Even though Italy’s Halloween traditions are similar to the U.S., they remained attached to the more spiritually oriented celebrations of All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day, which take place on November 1 and November 2.
No matter where in the world you celebrate Halloween, check out Fox World Travel‘s unforgettable locations around the world!