A Glimpse on How the World Celebrates Halloween

Kathryn Whitworth| October 24, 2014

Halloween is still among the most celebrated events all over the world. In fact, Halloween remains to be very popular in North America and Canada. Each year, more and more Americans celebrate the event and prepare for it by transforming their homes and offices into something spooky and creepy. Now that Halloween is around the corner, take a look at the world on how they celebrate the darkest and eeriest festival of the year.

Here is a list of halloween traditions all around the world

United States of America

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Americans have this popular way of celebrating the holiday. Children dress up in costumes and knock at the doors along the neighborhood and ask for treats. For them, the Jack-o’-lantern is the most identifiable trademark of the holiday. Americans carve pumpkins and decorate it with candles. They hold costume parties where everyone can eat, drink and play games.


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It was during the 16th century that Halloween was first celebrated in Scotland. At that time, people would predict their future. During the late 19th century, costumes became a norm in Halloween parties in Scotland. Children would knock from door to door to ask for food or money while disguising in costumes. The tradition is more or less similar to the way Americans celebrate Halloween.


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In Mexico, Halloween is called as “El Dia de los Muertos” or days of the dead. These days will be spent on the graves of their loved ones. Prior to the event, they would decorate the altars with candies, flowers, photographs and water. They would also clean up these graves by cutting weeds and repainting it when necessary.


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On Halloween night, people leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on their tables before going to bed. They have this belief that the souls of the dead would return to Earth, and as a welcoming present, they prepare these items. During this time, they also decorate the graves of their loved ones with lanterns and wreaths.


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Others believe that Ireland is the birthplace of Halloween. The Irish people would dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating just like the Americans. They would attend parties and play games to pass the time. They even have this card game where cards are faced down. Beneath the cards are the prizes for the participant, either money or candy.


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Japanese people don’t really spend Halloween like the Americans do. Instead, they have this celebration called the Obon Festival, otherwise known as “Matsuri.” It is a festival that is dedicated to their ancestor’s spirits. During this time, they light candles and place it inside lanterns, which will then be sent to float in rivers and seas. It is their belief that these “welcoming fires” will guide the spirits back to their homes.


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The French don’t really celebrate Halloween the way other countries do. It was only in the mid 1990’s when they adapted the American style of celebrating Halloween. Instead of going house-to-house, they would rather go from store-to-store to get their candies.


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In the Philippines, Halloween is centered on the dead. Families would spend time with their deceased loved ones on their graves at cemeteries. Filipinos also have this tradition called “Pangangaluluwa,” where people would go from one house to another to sing songs for the souls that are trapped in purgatory. In exchange, they will ask food or money.


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In China, they celebrate this Halloween festival called Teng Chieh. At this time, Chinese people would put water and food in front of the photographs of their dead loved ones. They even light lanterns and bonfires in hopes of guiding the spirits. In Buddhist temples, they make paper boats, which are burned in the evening.


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The English natives have their own way of celebrating Halloween. Other than carving pumpkins, they would carve beetroots and call them “punkies.” While children go knocking from door-to-door to ask for money, they would bring with them their “punkies.” In other areas, they even use turnip lanterns and hang these in front of their houses to drive the bad spirits away. They also have this belief that when a pebble is thrown in the fire and it is nowhere to be seen the next morning, then the person who threw it would not survive one more year.

Ever wonder how other countries carry on the creepiest festival of the year?

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