Have you ever wondered how other countries spend Halloween? We’re all familiar with the United States’ way of celebrating the 31st of October. Kids – and adults – get dressed in costumes, go trick or treating, and have parties.
In the Philippines, though the concept of Halloween is popular among the youth, families still go to cemeteries to commemorate and honor the dead. Here’s how countries from Asia, America, and Europe do it:
People say that Halloween as we know it originated from Ireland. It’s based on the ancient Celtic holiday called Samhain wherein spirits can pass between this world and the other world at night. The Celtics disguised themselves as protection against evil and carved scary faces into turnips to ward off unfriendly spirits.
Today, the Irish celebrate Halloween with bonfires, games, and traditional food like barmbrack – an Irish fruitcake that contains coins, buttons, and rings for fortunetelling.
Cambodia: Pchum Ben
This celebration actually lasts for 15 days! Buddhist families celebrate Pchum Ben, a religious holiday to celebrate the dead. This Khmer holiday is a time to remember and present food offerings to monks and to one’s deceased relatives. Cambodians also go home to their respective hometowns to spend time with family and visit temples and pagodas.
Mexico: Dia de los Muertos
Two words: calacas (skeletons) and calaveras (skulls). You’ll see these on candies, decorations, and costumes during The Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos. It is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and in most parts of Latin America during the first two days of November.
During Dia de los Muertos, family and friends gather to pray for the spirits of the dead. They celebrate the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities that the dead enjoyed in life. It also involves cleaning and decorating the graves of loved ones.
There isn’t a tradition in Korea where they celebrate Halloween, but they do have a holiday called Chuseok. It is also referred to as hangawi. No scary stuff is involved! Chuseok a quiet celebration of harvest and thanksgiving for their ancestors. They offer fruits and visit family graves and spend the day sharing stories with family members.
How do you celebrate Halloween? Share your thoughts and tag us on Facebook and Instagram @iamclaireph.