Halloween Around The World

Thursday, 29.10.2015 at 05:35PM

Halloween is one of the world's oldest holidays, dating back to pagan times. But it is celebrated today by more people in more countries than ever before.  There’s a simple reason: it is good, harmless fun for young and old alike!

Pumpkin

First, Where it all started: Ireland

Halloween is widely considered to have 'started' around 2,000 years ago, in - what's now - Ireland. The 31st October marked the beginning of the dark, cold winter; a time of year that was often associated with human death. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

Nowadays, all over the country, children get dressed up in costumes and spend the evening "trick-or-treating" in their neighbourhoods. In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts, with sweets as the "treasure." The Irish also play a card game where cards are laid face down on a table with sweets or coins underneath them. When a child chooses a card, he receives whatever prize is found below it. 

Halloween in Other Countries!

Austria

In Austria, some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before retiring on Halloween night. It was once believed that these would welcome the dead souls back to earth on a night that Austrians considered to be magical.

Belgium

The custom in Belgium on Halloween night is to light candles in memory of dead relatives. The Belgians believe that it is unlucky for a black cat to cross one's path and also unlucky if it should enter a home or travel on a boat. 

China

In China, the Halloween festival is known as "Teng Chieh". Food and water are placed in front of photographs of family members who have departed while bonfires and lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Halloween night.

France -  la fête d'Halloween

Unlike most nations of the world, Halloween is not celebrated by the French in order to honor the dead and departed ancestors. It is regarded as an "American" holiday in France and was virtually unknown in the country until around 1996. A combination of the French love of parties, fete's and costume events has led to the rapid rise of the holiday in France. Halloween in France is usually celebrated by costumed people of all ages going to parties. The costumes themselves tend to be traditionally "scary" - mummies, ghosts, goblins, witches, and vampires. Trick-or-treating is extremely rare.

Germany - Fröhliches Halloween

In Germany people put away their knives on Halloween night. The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm to (or from) the returning spirits.

Hong Kong

The Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as "Yue Lan" (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money at this time, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts. Fires are lit and food and gifts are offered to placate potentially angry ghosts who might be looking for revenge.