Halloween 2016 celebrations start around the world but all you wanted to know about Halloween. Death is a mysterious subject which haunts the mind of many. The passing from one world to another and the notion of spirits visiting us have led to many rituals, traditions and customs dealing with the subject. Many civilizations have their own ceremonies in order to commemorate the dead and keep the evil spirits away.
Many believe the American Halloween to originate from rituals of remembering the dead but at present a different form of traditions are practiced which has given rise to a billion dollar industry in America. The festival itself has an interesting history and the ways of celebration around the world makes us marvel about the influence of religion, culture and geography in transforming the Celtic tradition into a completely new variety.
Halloween 2016 Traditions around the World
The Celts celebrated the pagan festival with bonfires and dances to drive away the evil spirits. It was also about celebrating the yield which was the main form of survival back in those days. The day had a supernatural element associated with it (Halloween History) and people dressed up to scare away or entertain the evil spirits (Origins of Halloween). The custom is celebrated in many ways around the world, though it retains some connection with the dead still now.
Halloween 2016 in USA and Canada
The festival of Halloween was brought to America by Irish immigrants in the early nineteenth century. At that time only certain regions influenced by European culture celebrated the Halloween. It was mostly prevalent is Southern colonies whereas Northern parts avoided the festival due to Protestant presence and strict religious belief. The tradition grew popular after two million Irish fleeing from the potato famine settled in America in the mid 1800s.
Earlier celebrations included lighting fireworks, apple bobbing, listening to ghost stories, playing pranks and tricks, fortune telling, etc. The festival became more communal during the 1900s and turned into more of a family or community event (A Brief History of Halloween in America). Dressing up was common among children going from door to door asking for eatables was existent by 1911 (Halloween History). Trick or treat was developed around the same time and is the most popular Halloween 2016 activity all around the world today. Current celebrations in America involve young and adult visiting haunted houses or horror theme parks, dressing up and going for trick or treats and by attending parties. May schools and neighbor hoods hold Halloween events for the young to steer them from the violence and vandalism that takes place in name of “tricking” or playing pranks. People also decorate their homes and light lamps in their lawns and backyards (A Brief History of Halloween in America).
Halloween 2016 Celebrations in Europe
The traditions in Europe are a mix of American Halloween celebrations and the age old customs retained and transformed through the ages.
Halloween 2016 in Spain, Portugal and Italy
The Spanish speaking regions celebrate Halloween as “El Dia de los Muertos.” It is a happy festival spent in remembering departed loved ones. People set up an altar at home and place food and candies around it for the spirit to feast. Graves are also cleaned and decorated and gatherings at cemeteries for picnics is common (Halloween around the World). Italians bake bean shaped cakes called beans of the Dead and other sweets and candies and prepare meals for the departed souls. Portugal celebrates the harvest with people singing, drinking and roasting chestnuts in the fire along with playing pranks (Fall Traditions around Europe).
Halloween 2016 in Austria and Germany
Austrian Catholics leave a lamp and bread and water outside their homes to welcome the dead souls (Halloween around the World). People in Germany honor the Saints and visit graves of family members (Halloween Customs and Traditions) and kids carve monster figures from turnips or beet to keep evil spirits at bay. They also hide away their knives to protect the spirits from harming themselves (Fall Traditions around Europe).
Halloween 2016 in Ireland and UK
Ireland is the place where Halloween is believed to have originated. Modern traditions include American ways of parties and gatherings and children dressing up and playing their game of trick or treat. The rural side still celebrates with bonfire and traditional fortune telling games and food (Halloween around the World). The Halloween celebration in England was stopped after the spread of Protestant Reformation and now Guy Fawkes Night is held on the same date with firework shows and bonfires themselves (Fall Traditions around Europe) (Halloween around the World). Recent years have seen violence and vandalism in name of pranks in many parts of Ireland and UK with the police having to intervene (Halloween History).
Halloween 2016 in Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia
These regions source the Halloween traditions from a Slavic holiday called Dzaidy when ancestral spirits were invited to dine with the family. There is ritual of placing chairs on the fireside so that loved ones can visit. Graves are also cleaned and flowers and decorative are put on top. The All Saints festival continues for a week with cemetery visits which lead to traffic congestion on the streets (Fall Traditions around Europe) (Halloween around the World) (Halloween Customs and Traditions).
Halloween 2016 in Rituals in Asia
Chinese festival Teng Chieh, also called Feast of the Hungry Ghosts is celebrated with bonfires and lanterns so that spirits can visit the earth. People place food and water in front of dead ancestor’s pictures. Buddhist monks make boats from paper and burn them in order to help the spirits of accidental deaths attain peace and release from this world. The Halloween festivities in Hong Kong are known as Yue Lan where it is believed that the spirits roam the earth for a full day. People burn photographs of eatables or money to seek peace for the ghosts and spirits (Halloween around the World) (Halloween Customs and Traditions).
You Might Be Interested in: Halloween