Halloween Across The World
Finally, today’s the day when all the ghosts and ghouls come out to play. Get ready for an onslaught of trick-or-treaters, apple bobbing, horror films and funky costumes. At least, that’s what we do in Britain – but how does everyone else around the world celebrate Halloween? Here are some examples…
Here, people place offerings of food and water outside pictures of deceased loved ones as part of a Buddhist ritual to light a path for the dead as they travel the earth on Halloween night. Some people even invite Buddhist monks to recite sacred verses and give offerings of fruit for their dead relatives.
It’s traditional here to put away all the knives in the house, in order to keep wandering spirits from harming themselves.
Halloween is thought to have been brought to America by mostly Irish immigrants, so it only stands to reason that most American Halloween traditions are actually shared by the Irish, such as Halloween treasure hunts, where children search for sweets, and trick-or-treating.
The Obon Festival in Japan is where red lanterns are hung all around the towns, so that dead ancestors are able to find their way back to their families during the festival time. Special festival foods are also prepared, and special lights are lit and placed on rivers and other waters, also to help guide the spirits home. This festival, however, isn’t celebrated until the Summer.
Halloween isn’t celebrated particularly widely in South Africa, but in the small areas where it is, it’s growing fast and becoming one of the nation’s favourite holidays.
France is a little different from the other countries, in the sense that they don’t really celebrate Halloween at all – in fact, the holiday usually passes without much incident.
So there you have it, Halloween in its various forms around the world – will you be doing anything similar?
Whatever you get up to, be sure to have a great, safe and most importantly, fun Halloween!
-Chloë Perrin 2016