We might be familiar with the Halloween celebration where people wear fun costumes, carve pumpkins, and kids go from house to house to do some trick-or-treating. But of course, this is not the only way you can celebrate it.
In these countries that we’ll take a look at shortly, people celebrate Halloween in different (and of course, unique) ways. Save these places to your bucket list to experience a whole new level of Halloween celebrations! Check it out!
Ireland and Scotland – Samhain
We’ll start the list with the countries where it all began: Ireland and Scotland. People in these countries celebrate Samhain, which is believed to be the original Halloween. If you are not yet familiar with the history of Halloween, read more about it here!
People believe that autumn-which when summer dissolved into winter-is when the border between the world of the living and the dead dissolved too. That means on Samhain, the souls of the dead, spirits, or fairies cold cross into our physical worlds and that’s why people began preparing for winter.
People would dress in costumes in order to protect and disguise themselves from evil spirits. And this practice is where the tradition of wearing costumes on Halloween came from.
Dublin, Ireland, hosts a Samhain parade every year on Halloween. They also have traditional foods that they eat during the Halloween celebration, such as Colcannon (mashed potato mixed with cabbage or kale) and Barmbrack (sweet bread with raisins and sultanas). Interestingly, Barmbrack is often used as fortune-telling where they add charms to the loaf and your fortune for the next year will be depending on which charm you get in your Barmbrack.
Meanwhile in Scotland, The Beltane Fire Society hosts Samhuinn Fire Festival annually in Edinburgh. As for the traditional Samhain food, people would enjoy sausages on Halloween.
Mexico – Dia de los Muertos
In Mexico, people celebrate Halloween differently because they have Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead. This is a two-day celebration of remembering ancestors and deceased family members. However, this celebration is far from scary or sad as people are celebrating both past and present life on these days.
People believe that on November 1 and 2, the spirits of the dead come back to visit their families. The living families celebrate them with festivals filled with flowers and sweets, and images of deceased family members decorated with skulls and skeletons. People would have picnics and light candles in cemeteries.
Traditionally, people in Mexico would eat Pan de Muerto or Bread of the Dead. If you want to find out more about other Halloween treats from around the world as well, check it here!
Italy – Ognissanti
Alongside the modern celebration of Halloween, people in Italy also celebrate the traditional festival called Ognissanti. This festival is translated to All Saints’ Day and people celebrate it annually on November 1 and 2. But even so, a lot of people would begin the celebrations around a day or two in advance.
Similar to Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, Ognissanti is believed to be the day where the souls of the deceased come back to visit the living family members. During the celebration of Ognissanti, people would decorate cemeteries with chrysanthemums and leave food out for the visiting spirits. In some regions, parents also leave gifts out for their children on behalf of their deceased family members.
Guatemala – Barriletes Gigantes
Not only Mexico, but Guatemala apparently also observes the Day of the Dead. However, they have their own way to celebrate it: with giant kites!
Every year, people of the towns of Santiago Sacatepéquez and Sumpango would build giant colorful kites from natural materials and fly them in the cemeteries in order to honor the dead. This tradition goes back to ancient Mayan customs from three thousand years ago.
Japan – Kawasaki Halloween Parade
Lastly, we have another Halloween celebration in Japan. While Halloween is often associated as a holiday for kids with trick-or-treating and stuff, Halloween celebrations in Japan have more of an adult overtone. They don’t do trick-or-treat in this country, but people would do cosplays and fun parties to celebrate Halloween.
But to top all of that, Japan has the most well-known Halloween event in the country: Kawasaki Halloween Parade. This Parade is featuring around four thousand costumed revelers every year.
And if you want to participate in this event, you can’t just hop into the parade. They have standards for the participants, and that’s why they require people who want to join the parade to apply at least two months in advance.
So, which country would you like to visit for the next Halloween? Do you have any country in mind that we don’t have on the list? Let us know in the comment section below!