In the United States, it’s that point of year once children dress in costume and parade the neighborhood, inquiring for sugary treats. Families may share scary stories around a bonfire, or curl with popcorn to look at horror movies. 

Halloween is upon the United States of America, with over a 175 million Americans Planning to partake in festivities this year, consistent with the National Retail Federation.

Yet in different countries around the world, there are some very different celebrations that occur throughout the last week of October or the first days of November.

“Halloween is pretty much a North American holiday, as we tend to celebrate it currently,” said Regina Hansen, a master lecturer at Boston University’s College of General Studies, Who has expertise in Halloween-related practices throughout history and popular culture.

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“There are countries that have All Saints’ celebrations or Day of the Dead or All Souls Day form of celebrations that aren’t Halloween,” she said. “They are different things that happen to occur at the same time.”

As American children, a delight of Halloween celebrations here is just a sampling of another fall festivities that families are also engaging in around the world.

“The mid-point between summer, in a general sense, and winter is a time traditionally associated to the remembrance of the dead in many cultures,” said Joseph Nagy, a professor in Harvard University’s Department of Celtic Languages and Literature in Boston, Who has expertise in folklore and mythology.

Around the same time as Halloween, some families in Mexico gather to remember deceased friends and family member for a holiday known as an El Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, on November 2nd. Celebrations generally begin 2 days before.

In Haiti, Day of the Dead is sometimes celebrated with numerous Vodou rituals and customs.
Meanwhile, some families in Nigeria celebrate the Odo masquerade festival, that could be a somewhat similar observance of the dead, throughout that festival participants wear masks and perform theatrical acts.

Before Halloween, generally in August, some families in China celebrate the Hungry Ghost festival, a month-long ancient tradition that pays respect to the spirits of the dead on the seventh month of the lunar calendar.

During the festival, ghosts are believed to return to Earth to haunt the living and people burn paper money, food, and incense to pay respect to their ancestors and soothe wandering spirits. Throughout the month, many communities host celebrations, hand out the price to people in want and stage traditional Chinese operas on temporary bamboo stages.

In some countries, certain American Halloween traditions have emerged, among children and adults alike. for example, some adults travel spooky places like Transylvania around Halloween.

Located just outside of the Romanian city of Brasov, Bran Castle — made famous by Irish author Bram Stoker as Dracula’s Castle — tends to host Halloween celebrations of its own.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Halloween has become an event for adults to enjoy with cosplay and parties.

On the first day of November, some families worldwide, from France to Guatemala, celebrate All Saints’ Day, a Christian festival generally marked with family gatherings and silent prayers to honor all of the saints.

Pope Gregory III built and dedicated a special chapel in Rome within the 8th century in memory of all the saints on November 1, consistent with the Catholic University of America. Then Pope Gregory IV and Emperor Louis the Pious extended the November 1 feast of All Saints to the Holy Roman Empire within the 9th century, and from there it spread throughout Europe.

In medieval England, the festival was referred to as All Hallows, and its eve is All Hallows’ Eve or Halloween. The day in the end Saints’ Day is All Souls’ Day on November. These days were designated as a celebration of saints and a time to pray for dead souls.

During this time in France, for instance, “people may go to cemeteries and they wear a flower to honor their departed relatives,” Hansen said, referring on chrysanthemums.

Meanwhile, in Guatemala, some families honor their dead by flying large, colorful, hand-painted kites within the sky over the graves of family members.

As it seems, even where the idea of Halloween is believed to have originated — in western Europe — some celebrations concerned honoring the dead.

Halloween’s spooky origins

“Probably the first thing we have that’s related to Halloween is that this Irish Celtic festival referred to as Samhain, which occurred at the end of October and this is often thought of like a new year celebration,” Hansen said.

The word Halloween is an abbreviated version of the phrases All Hallows’ Eve or All Hallows’ Evening, however, the celebration is believed to possess come back from that ancient festival celebrated by Celtic people more than 2,000 years ago.

“What we would call November or the first a part of it, seems to possess been the designated end-of-harvest and beginning-of-winter time among peoples Who spoke or speak Celtic languages — primarily represented today by Irish, the Scottish particularly of the Highlands and islands, the Welsh, and the Bretons — however, the Celtic languages were way more widespread throughout Europe in ancient times,” Nagy said.

“In Irish, this time or, specifically, what we would call November 1, is known as Samhain, that probably means that ‘end of summer,’ ” he said. “This time was, and still to some extent is, treated within the  cultures of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany as ‘liminal’ — that’s, a time when boundaries both human and metaphysical loosen up.”

While it remains unclear exactly however ancient Celtic people celebrated Samhain, due to there not being many written records, Hansen had some ideas.

“They probably had bonfires … and made offerings of food and crops and cattle,” Hansen said since research suggests that’s generally however they tended to celebrate things.

“It was when Irish  immigrants came that the holiday really sort of took root in America and that they had their practice of going door to door, asking for fruits and nuts and things like that,” she said, touching on, however, immigrants from Ireland and Scotland brought Halloween-like traditions to the US in the 1800s.

Then over time, she added, Halloween became more commercialized and evolved into the candy-fueled celebration it’s today’s, not only within the US, however, other countries too.

 “Some people can watch Halloween movies. Some people have trick-or-treated or partying,” she said. “There’s such a lot of ways in which to celebrate it and it seems to me to be able to adapt itself to whatever interests you.”

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