It’s that scary time of the year again! Do you know that there is more to Halloween than trick or treating and ghoulish costumes? That’s right: there are a number of unique celebrations still unknown, each with its own unique story to tell. Want to know more? Here is thus a look at some of the most original interpretations of Halloween around the world.
Ireland is where Halloween all began in the first place, so it should not surprise anyone to learn that it is also the place where the earliest Halloween traditions were born. One such celebration involves the Irish fruitcake creepily stuffed with buttons and coins and rings. The “lucky” lady who finds a ring gets married the next Halloween. Weird, but it happens!
In Mexico, Halloween is a special time of the year when the dead are celebrated. According to local beliefs, the dead will return to their homes on Earth. This is perhaps why Mexicans decorate their homes, cook the favorite food of the chief “guests” and generally make merry. It is also not uncommon for them to leave wash basins and towels for use by the dead.
The Chinese version of Halloween is known as Teng Chieh. The celebration involves symbolic offerings of food and water, intended for those who have us for good. Those who remain on earth will light the path with bonfires to facilitate the dead’s path to heaven. In some festivals, Chinese people even burn paper boats (which are often quite large) to remember the departed.
On Halloween, Germans honor those who have died in glory for the Catholic church over the centuries. The day of the festival is spent not only attending church but also visiting the graves of their ancestors, as remembering the dead is an integral part of the celebration. Germans also hide their knives to protect the spirits of the departed.
Swedish people are known to be hardworking. But it’s not surprising that Halloween, referred to by Swedes as ‘Alla Helgons Dag’, calls for an extended holiday, usually from 31 October to 6 November. This period is when schools and universities take a break. Besides carrying out cemetery vigils on All Saints’ Day the following day, partying and pumpkin carving are the most popular festival activities.
Some of the festivals that are today associated with Guy Fawkes Day are actually derivations from celebrations based on Halloween traditions in England. So, it is not surprising to learn that the English build huge bonfires into which stones and vegetables and nuts are thrown in a bid to frighten away ghosts. A spooky tradition in England involves tossing a pebble into the fire and if it disappears next morning, then the thrower is doomed to die the following year. If lovers cast nuts into the fire and the nuts explode, then the marriage of that couple would be almost doomed.
#7. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Halloween traditions in the US are generally darker and spookier. They are almost always initiated by a game of Bloody Mary,by which a young person (of either sex) is dared into staring at a mirror in pitch darkness, repeating Bloody Mary’s name three times. It is said that the viewer will see the face of their future spouse peering over their shoulder. If the viewer dies before getting married, then a skull would be seen by them. We know we’re not playing!