It’s almost that time where many of us across the world remember the dead. Halloween dates back to All Saints Day, a day where Christians remembered the dead and started in Ireland. It has, of course, morphed into something different, but there is still a focus on ghoulishness and all things supernatural.
Globally, though, there are different ways this holiday is celebrated. Here are just a few.
The act of ‘souling’, whereby a small round cake is offered to children or those less fortunate, came about in the middle agents, starting in the British Isles and drifted into Europe. Today the tradition has died out in most parts of the continent, but in Portugal, it is still commonplace. Pão de Deus, as it is known, is celebrated by young children in the morning and go from door to door to accept cakes. In the Azores region, the cakes are often shaped like the top of a skull, which is a nice touch.
The sovereign city-state of Singapore likes to add a little class to their Halloween proceedings. To honour Zhong Yuan Jie or ‘Hungry Ghosts Festival’, a day where the gates of hell are opened and spirits are released to visit alive family members, different districts tend to put out tables and have a feast. The banquets are accompanied by live music or operatic performances.
Czechs haven’t always celebrated the holiday but its popularity for it has increased as the world has become more connected. One ritual that the nation conventionally follows is that of leaving an empty chair by a fireplace for each person that has died.
Being the fictional birthplace of Dracula, Romania’s Halloween festivities generally revolve around this fictional vampire. Transylvania hosts the most popular shindigs, as it is the alleged origin of Vlad the Impaler. In general, the country goes big when it comes to Halloween and it is recommended as a place to celebrate the holiday at least once in your life.
Mexico and Latin America
In many parts of the Spanish speaking world, Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated and is a very theatrical occasion. Even though it may sound morbid, the three day holiday is supposed to be a fun festivity where the deceased are remembered by spending time reminiscing, having a feast and dressing up in incredible looking facepaint.
Do you know of any other weird and wonderful Halloween traditions? Let us know in the comments.