How Halloween Is Celebrated Across The World
Meta: A review of how Halloween is observed around the world.
One of the most beloved holidays the world over, with so many children conjuring up playful and sometimes terrifying costumes in order to unleash their inner monster, princess or superhero and ultimately receive far too much candy, is celebrated in all kinds of locations.
It seems that the average amount spent on Halloween each year has increased over the years from 2007’s $64.82 to 2015’s $93.42. With the most popular children’s costumes including vampires, fairies, princesses, and superheroes; whereas adults prefer going as witches, vampires, pirates, batman, cats and vixens. The total average annual amount spent by consumers is $7 900 000 000, evidently, Halloween is something worth investing in.
Throughout Europe Halloween is celebrated in a variety of ways for example in Austria there are people who will leave a light on in the wee hours of October the 31st, a piece of bread and a glass of water for the souls of the departed who may return on this evening. In Belgium, on the other hand, the souls of those who have crossed over are honored by having a candle lit in their memory.
In the Czech Republic, families move chairs in front of the fireplace on the night of all hollow’s eve. There is one chair for every person’s physical form and another for every person’s ethereal spirit. In ancient England, there were several Halloweencustoms such as the throwing of everyday household and food items like nuts, into a great bonfire. These ‘offerings’ could also be used as a means to prophesize the future within the villages, for example, if a couple who threw a handful of nuts into the bonfire saw the nuts explode, this could mean that a strife-filled future laid ahead.
Not the most promising of omen for a couple just starting out; however, when Protestantism swept over England and they lost their affinity with the Saints, the English stopped celebrating these and other such traditional customs. Yet, the Americanversion of ‘trick or treating’ soon came to haunt the English nation and now they too dress up in all manner of costumes and hand out enough candy to ensure dentists will be in business for many years to come.
In Germany, citizens choose to store their knives and other sharp utensils on Halloween in order to ensure that the spirits of the departed who may choose to visit are not harmed in any way.
In Hong Kong, the festival of Hungry Ghosts known as Yue Lan is a 24-hour period when it is believed that the spirits of the departed walk the earth, people often like to burn images of food, such as fruits to bring happiness to the departed souls. In Korea, there is a festival around August known as Chusok, where the living thanks their departed family members for the works they achieved. The families leave offerings at the tombs of the dead such as fruit or rice.
In Japan, a festival known as the Obon Festival around July or August, the festival celebrates the souls of deceased family members, where candles are lit for every night of the festival. Specific festive dishes are made and red lanterns decorate the streets.
There are many more ways that countries celebrate Halloween; for more information check out SirHoliday.
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Skeleton American Halloween image link:
Germany image link:
Stonehenge image link:
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