One of the oldest celebrated holidays, Halloween is a traditional festival which is observed by many countries around the world. Derived from ancient rites and rituals, people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts.
Even though Halloween is said to have its roots in Ireland, these days it has become a somewhat secular holiday and is celebrated with equal gusto in Canada, United States, Mexico and other Latin American countries.
Bonfires are lit, as in the old days of the Celts, with children wearing costumes and partaking in trick or treat games with pastries and sweets as prizes.
Wondering where to travel for Halloween this year? Check out how the following cultures and countries celebrate. Or, if you’re staying at home, why not use these fun facts for your Halloween trivia questions!
Halloween Trivia: How Halloween is Celebrated Around the World
Halloween in Ireland …
If you’ve ever wondered who invented Halloween, it was the Irish. Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the region today known as Ireland, celebrated their new year on November 1.
In terms of celebrating Halloween in Ireland today, the Irish are known to indulge in a card game, where money and candy are covered with cards face down. The card then chosen by a person, gets what is found below it.
A traditional food, known as barmbrack (which is kind of like a fruit cake) is made available in the stores. Buried inside is a secret treat that is said to predict your future; for example, a ring would mean marriage, while a bit of straw foretells a prosperous time in the coming months.
Halloween in Latin America, Mexico and Spain
In Latin America, Mexico, and Spain, Halloween celebrations begin early on the evening of October 31st. The day marks the return of the dead back to their homes on earth, and is a dark night of terror and mischief.
Following Halloween is two days of festivities which ends on November 2, called Day of the Dead. In an explosion of color and life-affirming joy, families gather at the respective graveyards to picnic and party.
This is a joyous holiday famous for amazing skeletal makeup, which is an opportunity to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members. It is a ritual and tradition which originated several thousand years ago with the Aztec, Toltec, and other Nahua people, who considered mourning the dead disrespectful.
In North America …
Halloween enjoys the maximum popularity in Canada and North America, exceeded only by Christmas. It is said that the most amount of candy is sold here during the festival period.
Jack O’Lanterns are created and homes are adorned with pumpkins and stalks of corn. Wearing sexy costumes is part of the fun and 3wishes.com offers a great variety to choose from.
Halloween Trivia: Approximately 600 million pounds of candy are sold in the U.S. each year for Halloween, with 90 million pounds of that being chocolate sold just during the week immediately preceding Halloween. Americans spend $1.9 billion on Halloween candy each year.
Halloween in China …
Halloween is celebrated in China as Teng Chieh, where water and food are offered in front of photos of departed family members.
Lanterns are lit to make light for them to make it easy for them to travel back on the Halloween night. Buddhists make paper boats and burn them to enable the spirits of their loved ones to reach heaven. Sacred verses are sung by the monks and offerings of fruit are made.
Halloween in Europe
While France does not celebrate Halloween as it is regarded just as an American holiday, neighbouring Germany traditionally puts away all knives on Halloween night. This is done to ensure that the the returning spirits are in no way harmed (there’s a Halloween trivia question for you!).
In Austria and Belgium people leave behind food, water and a lamp which is lit to welcome the dead souls back with their favourite dish.
The oldest holiday in the world, dating back to the pagan era, is celebrated with fervor and fanfare in several countries of the world. After all people find the process of death and life after it quite intriguing and fascinating.
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Photo credits: Dia de los Muertos by Larry Lamsa. In which country did Halloween originate?