Halloween’s roots are in the Celtic holiday of Samhain, but it has evolved into a nearly global celebration with local variations in many nations. The most well-known Halloween is probably the one in America because it has grown to be a significant commercial event that affects everything from candy packaging to movies.
Even if American customs like carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating are becoming more and more popular abroad, every nation nonetheless upholds its own traditions and fundamental beliefs. In addition to Halloween, many nations also observe All Saints’ Day and Dia de Muertos, each of which has its unique importance.
Here are some of the most well-known and unexpected festivities from around the world. As winter approaches, nations all around the world embrace a reason to celebrate.
Halloween in Ireland and Britain
Samhain Eve, the country’s original October 31 festival, is still observed in Ireland with bonfires, feasting, and divination. The original Samhain foods and pastimes haven’t altered much over time, despite some influence from customs in other nations.
Boiling a potato, adding curly kale and raw onions to it, is the traditional Halloween supper. Many families have, however, increased this to include even more delectable items. The traditional dessert is Barmbrack cake, a sort of fruit cake containing hidden objects that, when found, are said to reveal your future.
Trick-or-treating and the custom of soul cakes both have their roots in Ireland. In exchange for soul cakes, children and the destitute used to go door-to-door and pray for the souls of their neighbors’ departed family members.
Ireland is largely responsible for the Halloween customs that the rest of the UK follows. Although trick-or-treating for Halloween sweets is more of an American than an Irish tradition, English, Scottish, and Welsh families occasionally participate with tiny cakes and nibbles. With a subscription to an international snack box, you can sample some of these distinctive UK sweets.
Pangangaluluwa in the Philippines
With the Spanish colonization, several European customs—including Halloween—were eventually brought to the Philippines. In the Philippines, a practice known as Pangangaluluwa, where children and the underprivileged would pray for the souls of the deceased in exchange for treats, gave rise to a tradition resembling Irish soul cakes.
The practice of pangangaluluwa has declined in popularity in favor of trick-or-treating more in the American tradition. However, some Filipinos are working to revive the tradition’s religious foundations.
In the Philippines, Halloween lasts for two weeks instead of just one, starting a week before October 31st and concluding on November 2nd, All Souls Day. November 1st and 2nd are spent picnicking visiting cemeteries, grieving, and celebrating departed loved ones, in accordance with their Catholic traditions. Board games, dancing, and graveside karaoke are all common occurrences.
A Changing Pattern in Japan
Despite not being a traditional holiday in Japan, Halloween is becoming more and more popular among both children and adults. Kids don’t usually do much for Halloween, but young adults enjoy dressing up and attending bars or street parties, especially in big cities.
The largest Halloween celebration of the year takes place in Tokyo’s hip Shibuya district. You can see costumed partygoers here, including popular Japanese animated and comic book characters. A sizable procession is also held in Kawasaki, which is near Tokyo, however participation in the parade needs registration two months in advance.
Hong Kong Events
In the past, Hong Kong, like Japan, did not observe Halloween. However, there are already celebrations happening all across the city, especially in the hubs of nightlife. Western conceptions of Halloween have an influence on some of these activities, while local beliefs and customs are substantially incorporated into others.
Every year, Hong Kong Disneyland also holds its own version of Halloween. Visitors and locals alike throng to the Western-style event, which has pumpkins, costumes, and an abundance of spooktacular snacks.
Halloween attire in Australia
Halloween is slowly becoming a holiday in Australia, albeit trick-or-treating hasn’t really taken off yet. During get-togethers with their pals, kids may indulge in Halloween candies or refreshments.
Nevertheless, it’s uncommon for youngsters in Australia to dress up as princesses, dragons, or superheroes. They may even apply artificial blood to their costumes, which are nearly entirely typical frightful ones like vampire and ghost attire.
In Australia, adults also don’t dress up very much and often only take part in Halloween celebrations if they have children. In recognition of the fact that not all Australians celebrate Halloween, it has been customary to place an orange balloon in front of your home. The neighborhood children will be informed which home will get candy thanks to this.
Mexican Dia de los Muertos
Fall is a time of year when many Latin American nations, including Mexico, traditionally pay tribute to the departed. This custom eventually combined with Roman Catholic customs, particularly those associated with All Saints’ Day, to form Dia de Muertos or Dia de Los Muertos.
In some places, American and European customs have affected Day of the Dead celebrations. However, many regions of Mexico observe Dia de Muertos in ways that draw more strongly from indigenous culture. Many people make elaborate shrines for the souls of their loved ones and leave out food, blankets, and pillows for the souls to visit.
Celebrations in Chile
Halloween parties and candy are not as popular in Chile as they are in many other nations. However, Dia de Muertos and Halloween are also widely observed there, and several festivities are planned to mark the occasions.
You might find beer festivals, block parties, and other major events happening depending on the city you’re in. In Chile, Dia de Muertos is celebrated on November 2, however depending on what day of the week it is, celebrations may span several days.
French All Saints’ Day
Even though it’s close to England, France doesn’t really observe Halloween. Due to All Saints’ Day on November 1, children normally receive two weeks off from school at the end of October, but trick-or-treating and other Halloween customs haven’t caught on in France.
The exclusive focus is on All Saints’ Day, also known as La Toussaint. Banks and government offices are closed on this national holiday in France, where many people pay their respects at loved ones’ graves and attend special church services.
In large part because of the iconography connected to witchcraft and demons, Halloween has not taken off in the majority of African nations. Buhé, a holiday celebrated similarly in Ethiopia, falls in the middle of August.
Children visit homes during Buhé, singing songs and pleading for bread. Even though they don’t dress up, the community celebration that results has a Halloween-like feel. The holiday instills in kids a respect for their elders and ancestors while also having deep religious roots.
Increasing Influence Globally
People all over the world are continuing to learn about various cultures and holidays as the internet expands. The costumes, treats, and parties that make Halloween such fun are beginning to spread to nations that previously didn’t observe it. Even nations that uphold their own national variations of the holiday use community-building activities like trick-or-treating to provide entertainment for children.
No matter what you have in store for Halloween, don’t forget to stock up on foreign snack packs for a tasty new delights. Each month, Snack Markit offers you a collection of traditional candies and snacks from several nations. For a huge assortment of unusual and exotic goodies for your family, check out our online store and subscription options.