How is Halloween Celebrated Around The World?

Ever wondered how Halloween is celebrated across the globe? Here’s a glimpse into how people from different countries embrace this festive occasion:

1. United Kingdom

As Halloween gains popularity in British pop culture, children in the UK are beginning to embrace this holiday. However, another significant event, Guy Fawkes Day, often casts a shadow on Halloween celebrations.

On November 5th, the UK commemorates the thwarted assassination attempt on King James I, orchestrated by Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators. Fawkes aimed to use barrels of gunpowder to assassinate the king but was apprehended before executing his plan, leading to his eventual death sentence. In honor of this event, bonfires illuminate the country on this day. Rather than the customary trick-or-treating for sweets, British children partake in a different tradition, going around asking for a “penny for the Guy.” This unique blend of historical significance and communal celebration sets Guy Fawkes Day apart, making it a notable rival to the emerging Halloween festivities.

2. Beira, Portugal

In parts of Portugal, Halloween shares similarities with Western traditions. One unique aspect is the November 1st tradition of cleaning relatives’ graves. People gather at cemeteries to maintain their loved ones’ resting places. Beyond this, pumpkin carving is embraced, and regions like Beira engage in this practice. The Pão-por-Deus tradition involves children reciting verses in exchange for cakes, nuts, fruits, and sweets.

3. New York City, U.S.

Halloween in New York City is a spectacle of decoration and celebration. Homes are adorned with spooky embellishments, and costume parties abound. The subway sees a colorful parade of costumed characters, showcasing a blend of eerie and whimsical attire. The city comes alive with creativity, from thrilling parades to kids excitedly trick-or-treating. It’s a time of inclusivity, with people from all walks of life participating in shared festivities.

4. Minnesota, U.S.

Halloween in Minnesota mirrors idyllic scenes from non-scary movies. Streets are lined with pumpkin-filled porches, and autumn leaves create a picturesque backdrop. Even with the potential for early snowfall due to the northern climate, communities continue to embrace the spirit of Halloween. Jack-o-lanterns illuminate sidewalks, while houses transform into haunted abodes. Memories of past Halloween blizzards remind locals of unique trick-or-treating experiences.

5. Seui, Sardinia, Italy

In the heart of Sardinia lies the village of Seui, where Su Prugadoriu honors souls of the departed. This three-day celebration blends local culture with agriculture and sheep farming. Villagers engage in traditional crafts, offering visitors a glimpse of their heritage. Culurgiones, a unique pasta dish, adds a delightful culinary element. The event unites the community and showcases Sardinia’s rich traditions.

6. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo has embraced Halloween with fervor, blending it seamlessly with Japanese cosplay culture. The streets become vibrant with costumed revelers, and Shibuya and Roppongi are popular hotspots for Halloween street parties. These gatherings offer a unique opportunity to interact with usually reserved Japanese locals in a festive atmosphere. Even weekdays see enthusiastic crowds, making Halloween a lively and inclusive affair.

7. Sint-Maarten: the Netherlands

In The Netherlands, Halloween is viewed as a modest affair, often associated with Americanization and commercialism rather than a deeply ingrained cultural event. Nevertheless, echoes of Halloween can be observed through lively parties scattered across Amsterdam. However, it’s on November 11 that the Dutch partake in Sint-Maarten, a children’s feast day with similarities to American Halloween, yet more widely observed.

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On the evening of November 11, streets come alive with children, akin to trick-or-treaters. These young ones carry lanterns resembling sugar beets or turnips, reminiscent of the American jack-o’-lantern. As they wander, they knock on doors and serenade their neighbors with songs, hoping to be rewarded with candies. Sint-Maarten offers a unique Dutch twist to the spirit of Halloween festivities.

8. Philippines

In the Philippines, Halloween spans a three-day period, coinciding with All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day. Families don costumes and visit relatives’ homes, presenting songs or dances in exchange for candies and treats. The community congregates at cemeteries, where lively celebrations take place. A mix of Halloween attire, festive foods, and prayers create a vibrant atmosphere of togetherness.

9. Mexico

Día de Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, in Mexico is a culturally rich tradition similar to Halloween, observed on November 1 and 2. Despite its name, this occasion is a vibrant celebration of life, joy, and color. Its essence lies in expressing love and respect for departed family spirits.

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Resonating with Halloween customs worldwide, Day of the Dead festivities involve donning vivid makeup and dazzling costumes, hosting parades, and engaging in song and dance. What sets this holiday apart is the unique practice of crafting offerings for the departed. Families construct temporary altars as tributes to their ancestors. These altars are adorned with delights such as sugar skulls, bottles of tequila, marigolds, and photographs of those who have passed on. It is believed that these offerings beckon the spirits to the altars, reuniting them with the living family once more. The Day of the Dead is a spirited celebration that fuses remembrance, connection, and lively festivities.

10. Scotland, U.K.

Scotland’s Halloween traditions have evolved over time. The traditional “guising” involved dressing up in creative, homemade costumes and going door-to-door, sharing songs or poems in exchange for treats. Bobbing for apples (dooking) and lighting bonfires remain integral parts of the celebration. Over the years, costumes have become more elaborate, while bonfires continue to symbolize warding off spirits.

From feasting to festivities, from street parties to honoring the departed, Halloween’s global celebrations showcase a diverse tapestry of traditions, uniting people in the spirit of fun and togetherness.

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