Did you know that many countries around the world celebrate different versions of Halloween? So no matter what you might do for the holiday at home, it often will look different to how it is celebrated to somewhere else in the world.
Whether you grew up dressing up in costume and going 'trick-or-treating' or you celebrated by lighting candles for loved ones who have passed away, there are many different versions of Halloween around the world.
The holiday we call ‘Halloween’ is the celebration of the eve of All Hallows Day, a Christian festival to honor saints.
It is often believed that the holiday originated from ancient Celtic Harvest festivals (particularly the Gaelic festival of Samhain) and is part of a three-day festival that remembers the dead.
Over the years, many traditions have become synonymous with this version of the holiday which is widely celebrated in the USA and parts of Europe (particularly the UK and Ireland). Activities include dressing up in costume, going ‘trick-or-treating’ for candy, bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins into ‘jack-o’-lanterns’, lighting bonfires and many more.
Thanks to multiculturalism and emigration, Halloween has spread to all parts of the globe and can celebrated in countries as far-flung as Ghana and Australia.
While the UK certainly celebrates Halloween, England also celebrates another spooky holiday – Guy Fawkes Day.
Also known as Bonfire Night, this day is celebrated Nov 5 and was named to honor Guy Fawkes, an English revolutionary. One of the main celebrations is the tradition of lighting bonfires or watching various fireworks displays that occur throughout the country.
While Halloween remains the main celebration during this time, this night is still enjoyed by many people in the UK.
China celebrates a festival known as Teng Chieh, which revolves around remembering friends and family members who have passed away.
Traditions include placing food and water in front of pictures of the deceased as well as lighting bonfires and Chinese lanterns to symbolically light the pathway for spirits to return to earth on this particular night.
In Buddist temples, practitioners will create boats from paper to burn in the evening which they believe will free spirits so they may enter heaven.
In Mexico and some other Spanish-speaking nations, Halloween is celebrated as El Dia de los Muertos, which translates as Day of the Dead.
This holiday is a three-day celebration of the dead that is colorful and joyous. People who celebrate this day believe that spirits come back to earth during this time and will decorate the home with flowers, candy, photographs, food and water to welcome the deceased spirits of friends and family back home.
Other activities of the festival include large parades and dressing in traditional costume as well as visiting the graves of loved ones who have died.
Halloween is celebrated as All Saints Day in Germany and in some other Catholic parts of the world. As it is seen as a religious holiday to commemorate Saints, activities include going to church, lighting candles and visiting the graves of deceased loved ones.
Additionally, in Germany, it is custom to hide knives during this time so as to protect saints who are visiting earth from being accidentally hurt!
Fed Gede is celebrated by some communities in Haiti and is known as the Feast of the Dead. It is celebrated as part of a group who ascribe to Haitian Vodou as their religion and is designed to commemorate the dead.
The feast traditionally takes place on November 2nd and the tradition involves celebrating the gede, or spirits, who are believed to be all around us.
No matter where you are in the world, why not get in touch with those you love the most (preferably of the living variety!). You can send a mobile top-up to anywhere in the world with Ding.