Halloween is one of the world’s oldest holidays, it dates back to the pagan times. It is celebrated every year on October 31st. Halloween is originally an ancient festival but still celebrated today in many countries around the world as a holiday where the young and old spend some fun time with their friends and neighbors. Countries like Canada, Ireland, and the USA celebrate Halloween the traditional way where they hold costume parties, trick-or-treat between kids and their neighbors, or prank each other with some scary pranks and games.
Other countries do not celebrate Halloween with the usual traditions on the same day, they have their own version of Halloween. In this article, we are taking you on a scary tour around the world to take a glimpse of how countries celebrate Halloween.
Our first stop will be in Africa to attend the “Awuru Odo Festival” where Nigerians celebrate the return of their dead friends and family back to life. The festival lasts up to six months and is celebrated with music and masks. The Odo Festival is an important ritual to the Nigerians and it takes place once every two years when it is believed the spirits will return back to Earth.
Flying to India on the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapada and for 16 days, Indians celebrate Pitru Paksha. Hindus believe that when someone dies, Yama, the Hindu god of death takes their soul somewhere where they meet their last three generations of a family. And during Pitru Paksha, these souls are allowed to return to Earth for a while and spend some time with their families. India celebrates Pitru Paksha by offering the dead “kheer” which is sweet rice and milk, “lapsi” or sweet porridge, rice, lentils, spring beans, and pumpkins, all cooked in silver or copper pots and served on banana leaves.
Most English people are against celebrating Halloween following Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation. However, they celebrate an autumn ritual called “Guy Fawkes Day” on the 5th of November every year to commemorate the execution of a notorious English traitor, Guy Fawkes. On November 5, 1606, Fawkes was executed after being convicted of attempting to blow up England’s parliament building. The day was celebrated with Bonfires across the country and lanterns from carved turnips. Children went begging for “a penny for the guy” holding portraits of Guy Fawkes and those pennies were to buy more wood for the bonfire which Guy Fawkes was supposed to be burned alive!
Mexico, Spain and Latin America celebrate “All Souls Day”. It takes place on November 2nd of each year. It is a three-day celebration that begins on October 31st eve. The festival is to honor the dead souls who return to their homes on Earth on that day. To celebrate their return, families build an altar in their homes to honor their dead relatives and decorate it with candies, flowers, photographs, the deceased’s favorite food or drink, along with water so that the souls enjoy the foods, candies and stuff they missed in the other world.
In many other Arab countries and the middle east like Egypt, Dubai, Jordan, and sometimes the Saudi Arabia, Halloween is just celebrated by the school kids as costume parties where kids dress in their favorite superhero suits or Disney characters and gather over a Halloween cake or share some Halloween gifts to celebrate the international occasion.
Our tour is over, but if you wanna join in the spirit of Halloween, gather your friends and family over some Halloween treats or make your own Halloween party and have some fun with the people you love.