Close Halloween Traditions and Celebrations Around the World Halloween is one of the world's oldest holidays, dating back to pagan times. But it is celebrated today by more people in more countries than ever before. First, Where it all started: Ireland In Ireland, which is considered to be where Halloween, the day is still celebrated much like it is in the United States.
As one of the world's oldest holidays, Halloween is still celebrated today in several countries around the globe, but it is in North America and Canada that it maintains its highest level of popularity.
Halloween is the holiday when the most candy is sold and is second only to Christmas in terms of total sales. Austria In Austria, some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table World lit paper retiring on Halloween night. The reason for this is because it was once believed such items would welcome the dead souls back to earth on a night which for the Austrians was considered to be brimming with strong cosmic energies.
Belgium The Belgians believe that it is unlucky for a black cat to cross once's path and also ulucky if it should enter a home or travel on a ship. The custom in Belgium on Halloween night is to light candles in memory of dead relatives.
Canada Modern Halloween celebrations in Canada began with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants in the s. Jack O'Lanterns are carved and the festivities include parties, trick-or-treating and the decorating of homes with pumpkins and corn stalks.
Food and World lit paper are placed in front of photographs of family members who have departed while bondires and lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Haloween night.
Worshippers in Buddhist temples fashion "boats of the law" from paper, some of which are very large, which are then burned in the evening hours. The purpose of this custom is twofold: The presence of "pretas" among the living is thought by the Chinese to be dangerous.
Under the guidance of Buddhist temples, societies are formed to carry out ceremonies for the "pretas," which includes the lighting of lanterns. Monks are invited to recite sacred verses and offerings of fruit are presented.
Czechoslovakia In Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed by the fireside on Halloween night.
There is one chair for each living family member and one for each family member's spririt. England At one time, English children made "punkies" out of large beetroots, upon which they carved a design of their choice.
Then, they would carry their "punkies" through the streets while singing the "Punkie Night Song" as they knocked on doors and asked for money. In some rural areas, turnip lanterns were placed on gateposts to protect homes from the spirits who roamed on Halloween night.
Another custom was to toss objects such as stones, vegetables and nuts into a bonfire to frighten away the spirits. These symbolic sacrifices were also employed as fortune-telling tools.
If a pebble thrown into the flames at night was no longer visible in the morning, then it was believed that the person who tossed the pebble would not survive another year. If nuts tossed into the blaze by young lovers then exploded, it signified a quarrelsome marriage. For the most part however, the English ceased celebrating Halloween with the spread of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation.
Since followers of the new religion did not believe in Saints, they saw no reason to celebrate the Eve of All Saints' Day. However, in recent years, the American "trick or treating" custom, together with the donning of costumes for going door-to-door, has become a relatively popular pasttime among English children at Halloween, although many of the adults particularly the older generations have little idea as to why they are being asked for sweets and are usually ill-prepared to accommodate their small and hopeful callers.
France Unlike most nations of the world, Halloween is not celebrated by the French in order to honor the dead and departed ancestors. It is regarded as an "American" holiday in France and was virtually unknown in the country until around Germany In Germany, the people put away their knives on Halloween night.
The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm befalling the returning spirits. Hong Kong The Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as "Yue Lan" Festival of the Hungry Ghosts and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours.
Some people burn pictures of fruit or money at this time, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts.
Ireland In Ireland, believed to be the birthplace of Halloween, the tradition is still celebrated as much as it is in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts and children dress up in costumes to spend the evening "trick-or-treating" in their neighborhoods.
After the visiting, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends. At these parties, many games are played, including "snap-apple," in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree, and players attempt to take a bite out of the suspended apple.
In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts with sweets or pastries as the "treasure. When a child selects a card, he or she receives whatever prize might be found there. A traditional food is eaten on Halloween called "barnbrack.
A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake which, so it is said, can foretell the future of the one who finds it. If the prize is a ring, then that person will soon be wed and a piece of straw means a prosperous year is forthcoming.
Children are also known to play tricks upon their neighbors on Halloween night. One of which is known as "knock-a-dolly," where children knock on the doors of their neighbors but then run away before the door is opened.
Japan The Japanese celebrate the "Obon Festival" also known as "Matsuri" or "Urabon" which is similar to Halloween festivities in that it is dedicated to the spirits of ancestors.The College Board The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.
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