One of the most wildly celebrated and beloved holidays in the United States is Halloween. Who doesn't love getting to dress up in ridiculous costumes, eating delicious candy, decorating pumpkins and going to costume parties.
As this Halloween is fast approaching us, I started looking into the origin of the holiday and the celebration and traditions arounds the world! Halloween is one of the worlds oldest holidays, widely celebrated in many countries and dates back to well beyond pagan times.
Halloween dates back over 2,000 year to a keltic festival, Samain. The keltic festival Samain was celebrates on November 1st. It was believed that on october 31 spirits would rise from the dead. People would leave food and drinks on their doors, to keep spirits away and wear masks when they ventured out so that they would also appear as spirits. In the 8th century Samain festival was changed to All Hallows eve, Which was later changed to halloween as we call it today!
The origin of trick or treating started as Souling or Guising! The origins of the tradition of Souling and Guising started in medieval Britain. On Souling people of poverty would beg for pastries n return they would pray for dead relatives of those who gave them the pastries . For the tradition of Guising children dressed up, and perform a act such as singing, dancing or joke telling to receive, money, food, or drink. When irish families immigrated to America they brought the tradition with them as trick or treating with the emphasis on tricks! It was not until the 1950's that trick or treating came to be a family affair as we know it today! Halloween is now the second most commercial holiday in America, making over 6 billion dollars yearly on costumes and candy.
How is it celebrated around the world:
In Ireland halloween is celebrated in a party like atmosphere. Children dress up in costumes and go door to door receiving candy and treats, there are many community gathering and traditional games played.
In Belgium Halloween is celebrated by lighting candles in the windows of theirs homes, to honor their dead relatives.
In Sweden Halloween is known as "Alla Helgons Dag". "Alla Helgons Dag" translates into All saints days. It is celebrated from october 31st to november 6th. Children and university's are given shorten days or off to commemorate the holiday
In Hong Kong hollowed is know as "Yue Lan". "Yue Lan" which translates into the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts. It is believed that ghost awaken and roam the world for 24 hours. To reach the "ghost world" and ease the spirits it is tradition to burn, fruits, foods or money.
In France Halloween is known as la fête d'Halloween. Until the 1900's it was not celebrated in the country. Halloween is still a fairly new tradition in France but is celebrated with parties, decorations and customs.
In Czechoslovakia Halloween is celebrated around a fireside. Chairs are placed around the fire to represent each living family member and chairs to commemorate those who are deceased.
In China Halloween is know as "Teng Chieh". Pictures of deceased family members are places with beverages and food in front of them. Bonfires and lantern are lit to guide the spirits path on the night of "Teng Chieh".
In Korea Halloween is known as "Chusok." Chusok is celebrated in the month of august. Family's pay thanks to there ancestors by visiting there burial grounds and offering them fruits and rices.
In Mexico Halloween is known as "El Dia de los Muertos." El Dia de los Muertos is a joyful holiday to honor the dead, with a three day celebration beginning on october 31st. It is believed that the dead will return to their homes. Many families make alters and decorate them with candy, photo's, flowers and food. Candles are lit to help the dead find there way back to their homes.There is also a celebration throughout the towns on November 2nd.
In America Halloween is celebrated with trick or treating. Children dress up in costumes and go door to door asking for candy. Many other traditions include, carving pumpkins, going to mazes made of corn, and walking through haunted houses.
Halloween is widely celebrated around the world. There are many different cultures and traditions that surround the holiday. It is very interesting getting to know a little more of how the holiday is celebrated around the world and how different cultures commemorate the holiday.