Halloween is one of the world’s oldest holidays. Halloween is still celebrated today in several countries around the globe by more people in more countries than ever before.
Halloween in Australia
It was once believed that leaving bread and water on a table with a lighted lamp would help welcome dead souls back to earth on this powerfully cosmic night.
Halloween in Spain
A pastry called Bones of the Holy is shaped like skulls and eaten on Halloween day. It contains anise seed and is covered with an orange glaze. Children play tricks for treats, and later families go to the cemetery to visit deceased family members where they remain, keeping vigil throughout the night. The next day is spent cleaning up the family burial plots.
Halloween in Japan
The Japanese celebrate a holiday similar to Halloween called Bon Festival which takes place July 13th to the 16th. The festival comes from Buddhist tradition. It is the their belief that your ancestors’ spirits come back to their home during the Bon Festival. Families offer special foods to the spirits of their ancestors at their family altars. Japanese folk dancing is preformed to welcome their ancestor’s spirits and paper lanterns are lit during the ending of the festival and placed in the rivers to send the spirits back on their way.
Halloween in Korea
The Koreans celebrate a holiday similar to Thanksgiving and Halloween called Chusok. It starts on the night before the 15th day of the 8th lunar month and ends on the day after the 15th. The holiday is celebrated by families getting together and eating. In the evening they get dressed up visit the tombs of their ancestors. They thank their ancestors for the hard work they did and leave offerings of rice and fruits. They dance, play games, and sing songs.
Halloween in Germany
German households put away all knives on Halloween night so that the spirits returning to earth will not be accidentally hurt during the celebrations. Cemeteries are cleaned up and wreaths and lanterns are placed at family grave sites.
Halloween in Italy
It is custom to set a bountiful table and then leave the house open while spending the day in church praying for the souls of the dead. They pray, hoping that the dead will return and consume the food that is left for them. One traditional food made for this day is a bread or cookie baked in commemoration of the dead called Fave dei morti or, Bones of the Dead. It is made with almonds, pine nuts, sugar, eggs, and flour and shaped into large beans.
Halloween in Mexico
In Mexico they celebrate El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) starting on the evening of October 31st and lasting until November 2nd. The holiday is celebrated to honor friends and family members who have past on. According to belief, their spirits return to the realm of the living at this time. Many families construct shrines in their homes and decorate it with the foods and drink that the past relatives enjoyed while alive. They also leave photographs and candles so the spirits may find their way to the shrines. The burial places of these relatives are also cleaned fresh flowers are placed beside them. The festivities during this time are grandiose including parades, parties, and lavish costumes depicting the dead.
Halloween in Russia
Blue cats such as the Russian Blue, Burmese, and British Blue are said to bring good luck on this day.
Halloween in Ireland
Ireland has celebrated Halloween for Centuries. It is said that the practice of carving and lighting Jack O’Lanterns started there. A man named “Stingy Jack” was said to be too mean to be let into heaven, and because he played so many tricks on the devil he was not welcomed into the netherworld either. With nowhere to go, after he died, “Stingy Jack” was destined to walk the earth for all eternity carrying a carved-out turnip with a glowing lump of coal inside. Soon people