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Halloween Around the World: It Isn’t Just Costumes and Candy

Traditions this spooky time of year vary from place to place.

By:  |  October 31, 2020  |    344 Words

When you think of Halloween, you probably imagine spooky costumes, bobbing for apples, and trick-or-treating. While these are typical American traditions, other countries have some different ways to celebrate this time of year.

Halloween Around the World

Ireland and Scotland: Samhain

Samhain is the ancient Celtic and Pagan festival that celebrates the end of the light half of the year, or summer months. Today it is celebrated with bonfires and games. Traditional foods such as the barmbrack are served. Barmbrack is an Irish fruitcake that might be a bit tricky to eat since they contain noneditable items such as buttons, rings, and coins. The additions are used for fortunetelling.

Mexico: Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated on November 1 and November 2 in honor of those who have died. According to the tradition, the Gates of Heaven open up at midnight on October 31, allowing the souls of children to return to Earth to their families – but only for 24 hours. On November 2, the souls of adults are allowed to join in the festivities.

Romania: Day of Dracula

Halloween and spooky adventures just wouldn’t be the same without a vampire in the mix. In Romania, where Dracula is believed to have lived, people gather to tour Bran Castle in Transylvania, where it is rumored Vlad “The Impaler” Tepes at least visited at one time. Tours are provided and the adventurous can even hold parties at Count Dracula’s castle.

The Philippines: Pangangaluluwa

Although trick-or-treating is the modern form of the Pangangaluluwa, there are still some areas where the traditional door-to-door visits are conducted. Instead of asking for candy, children dress in costumes, sing, and ask for prayers for those stuck in purgatory.

Hong Kong: The Hungry Ghost Festival

The Hungry Ghost Festival is held between August and September, on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. Restless spirits start to roam the world during this time and to assuage them, the festival “feeds” the spirits with food and money, items the ghosts need for the afterlife.


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