By Ava Barakat
Halloween is a festive holiday celebrated on the 31st of October by many countries around the world. When we think of celebrating Halloween our minds immediately go to trick-or-treating, dressing up in costumes and attending Halloween parties. But Halloween has some unique traditions throughout a number of countries, with different celebrations associated with different cultures. So how do these countries celebrate Halloween??
The origins of Halloween trace back 2,000 years ago, beginning at the ancient Samhain festival in Ireland. Due to its history, Ireland is one of the most festive countries for celebrating occasions like Halloween. There are a number of celebratory parades and ghost tours that take place throughout the streets, along with the iconic pumpkin carving festivals in the city of Meath. Derry hosts one of the largest Halloween celebrations in the world, lasting through the month of October. Derry also has harvest markets in which locals decorate the streets with pumpkin Jack o’ Lanterns, as well as zombie nights, dance parties and witchery workshops all leading up to the main event.
While children in Mexico participate in the tradition of trick-or-treating, tourists and locals look forward to the iconic Mexican festival “Dia de los Muertos” - otherwise known as Day of the Dead. This celebration falls on October 31st and runs for 3 days until the 2nd of November. Observers say that the festival dates back to 3,000 years ago, when it’s believed that deceased loved ones are reunited with their families. Many families prepare a feast to celebrate these days, as well as leaving gifts on their loved one's gravesites. There are also many nighttime carnivals, precessions and vigils on these three days.
3. United States
Halloween is one of the most iconic holidays celebrated in America. On the 31st of October, young children and adults participate in festive traditions. Dressing up in scary costumes or as your favourite celebrities as well as trick-or-treating and watching Halloween movies are many Americans' favourite ways of celebrating. Many families in the neighbourhoods of the cities look forward to decorating their houses in festive ways and competing with surrounding houses, some of them even participating in contests to make their houses as festive as possible.
4. Middle East
Eid il-Barbara, otherwise known as Saint Barbara's Day, is a similar holiday to Halloween. It is celebrated on the fourth of December annually, typically by Arab Christians in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan in honour of the Christian Saint, St Barbara. St Barbara lived in the 4th century in a town known as Baalbeck in modern-day Lebanon, and after her conversion to Christianity, she ran away disguised. This is the reason why kids dress up in masks and costumes in honour of St Barabara disguising herself to hide from her father and the Romans searching for her. Kids trick-or-treat around towns as they sing a song called Heshle Burbara while shaking tambourines and hitting a tabla announcing their arrival.
For Halloween celebrations, Belgium’s traditions are a bit darker than other countries. Even though there are parades and festivals that happen at the time of Halloween, the city pool is dyed dark red and children have permission to swim in it in their costumes on the day. Adults and families also light candles in honour of their relatives and deceased loved ones. There are also many ghost tours in the streets of Belgium, making Ostend the title of Belgium's Halloween capital.
Vote on this poll to decide!!