Halloween Around the World and The Amazing, Different Traditions

Halloween is an exciting tradition for many, although it’s celebrated differently around the globe.

As it’s coming up to the season, we wanted to look at Halloween around the world. Specifically, how different cultures and countries approach this tradition and what their reasons are for this. Read on to learn about this tradition across many different locations.

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Halloween Around the World 

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Over 2,000 years ago, the Celts lived in Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France and celebrated the new year on November 1. Celts believed that the presence of other spirits made it easier for priests to predict the future. These prophecies were an important source of comfort for the upcoming long, dark nights in winter.

As the celebration is over, they re-light their hearth fires from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter. Let’s take a look at Halloween around the world and how each country differs.

1. China

When looking into Halloween around the world, China was one country we wanted to explore. Unlike Christmas, this tradition is essentially a non-event for Chinese locals, unless they have some personal connection to it. As a result, it’s unlike that you’ll see Halloween signs and decorations outside of major cities.

In fact, places are mainly decorated for tourists, rather than residents. However, if you live in the big cities (such as Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou), you’ll likely feel pumpkins or squash across the shop-fronts, as well as Western products. You may even find shops stocking up on candy. On the other hand, you won’t see Chinese children knocking on doors for treats. But, you can expect to find trick-or-treaters at expat schools.

For adults, Halloween isn’t taken seriously and is a gimmicky occasion for bars, pubs and restaurants. In fact, many public places theme a night around Halloween, though this is more common in larger cities than small towns. If you’re looking for a party, you can check local magazines for gatherings. Alternatively, visit a bar for a spooky night out. Despite it not being a highly south tradition, China is one of the best places to assemble a costume.

If you’re highly interested in a good party, you might want to consider heading to China in time for costumes and accessories. Many places tailor make outfits, and with expert craftsmen, there’s nowhere else in the world that can deliver such an exceptional service. On the other hand, have a dab at making your own. Head to a market with print out photos to find the right fabric. With an array of tailors on hand, you’ll find someone who’ll help you out.

2. France

Halloween around the world is fascinating, because some cultures celebrate it so much more than others. In France, it isn’t a typical holiday, but stores take advantage of pumpkins. Displayed at your local grocery store, they decorate the front window to keep in-theme with the spooky season. You can easily find a place to carve your Halloween pumpkin too. For children, Halloween is more of an educational process, than a fun one. Specifically, children engage in fun activities which use Halloween to help expand their education. Often, teachers will use candy for motivation which works to get the children to work harder and focus.

Unlike Halloween around the world, schools don’t usually organize a trick-or-treat outing because it’s usually during mid-season break. French neighborhoods vary massively. One area will decorate their entire house with spooky decorations, whilst another won’t partake in the festivities. It’s completely up to the residents if they want to engage in Halloween or not. People have mixed reactions to giving children in costumes candy.

On the contrary, children love to dress up, though you’ll not find any cute kittens or princesses in French neighborhoods. Instead, expect to find ghosts, zombies and vampires. The United States like to get playful and flirty with their costumes, which isn’t the case for French residents. In small villages and the countryside, Halloween is still a foreign holiday. But, in larger cities you’ll often find organized parades, parties and decorations. But throughout French neighborhoods, don’t expect to see houses covered in pumpkins and cobwebs.

3. Mexico

Mexico is a great place to spend your time for Halloween. Filled with ghoulish costumes and fun-size candy, it’s mainly celebrated on November 1 and 2. This festival combines rituals with the Catholic feast deals of All Saints and All Souls. Unlike Halloween around the world, Mexico makes light of the sadness which associates with death. They spend time welcoming back to earth the souls of their deceased ones by decorating their graves, and holding candlelit processions.

There are plenty of places in Mexico to celebrate Halloween. For example, San Miguel de Allende throws a party like no other place in Mexico. The La Calaca Festival is a five-day celebration complete with plays, public altars, live performances and DJ-hosted dance parties which last through the night. This parade even puts a fun twist on Halloween traditions. For example, women and men dress in elaborate costumes and pass out candy to children.

Oaxaca is another great place to celebrate Halloween. Groups of musicians dressed as costume-clad characters traipse through the city dancing and drinking. Local artists pay tribute to the deceased. Next to La Soledad Church, there are truckloads of sand transformed into elaborate memorials. In addition, the Mayan town celebrates traditional cooking. Their main parade – Paseo de Las Animas – shuts down the streets for musical performances.

4. Bangkok

Bangkok is one of the best places to be out of all the countries which acknowledge Halloween around the world. It features some of the best Halloween parties, with amazing costumes, great DJs and awesome prizes up for grabs. It doesn’t matter if you’re female, male, single, married or a parent, because there are plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween in Bangkok no matter where you are. If you are a parent and your child goes to a bilingual school, it’s likely they’ll have Halloween festivities. With costume parties and craft sessions, children spend the week before Halloween having fun.

The malls in Bangkok display Halloween costume competitions for children. You’ll see children running around in costumes, and you can also buy costumes at some of the biggest department stores in Bangkok. With a huge selection of masks and costumes, it’s one of the best places to purchase costumes and accessories. Scattered around Bangkok, there are various games and competitions for the entire family. For example, the First Steps International School holds a huge party for children each year. There are also trick or treat games, a book drive, fancy dress competitions and more. Depending on if you’re a member or not, the entrance fee will accommodate.

However, Bangkok is also an ideal place for singles to celebrate Halloween. Nearly every bar has festivities and fancy-dress parties and competitions with plenty of door prizes and drinks on theme too. For example, Silom is a long street of bars, clubs and restaurants. Don’t worry if you see half-naked guys filling the streets too as it’s an excellent gay community scene filled with incredible costumes.

5. Germany 

Over the past few decades, Halloween has become increasingly popular in Germany for adults and children. In fact, the festivities begin a few days from September and last until early November. You can expect to find lantern decorations and pumpkins everywhere you go within this time frame.

Due to Halloween’s popularity in the rest of Europe, it’s become more popular in Germany. However, many Germans are unhappy with its growing popularity. Filled on supermarket shelves, costumes fill department stores and Halloween-themed candy can be found everywhere. Unlike in the United Sates where you can find virtually any kind of costume, Germany costumes are much scarier. In fact, it’s fairly difficult to find a costume which isn’t horror-themed.

If you reside in a big city, there are plenty of apartment buildings which organize trick-or-treat festivities. There are various themed-costume parties and clubs throughout the cities. Another popular way to celebrate the Halloween season with the whole family is with Pumpkin Festivals. You can easily find carving pumpkins in Germany with no problem. They’re even a part of seasonal meals and throughout farmers’ markets with inventive dishes.

If you’re a huge fan of Halloween, make sure you head to Burg Frankenstein near Darmstadt. This is the exact place where Mary Shelley took inspiration for the Frankenstein novel. It’s the perfect place for a spooky event. Actors dress as ghouls and ghosts. The area is filled with flickering lights and a scary soundtrack to make the castle feel like a truly haunted house. Also, there are plenty of other events annually running in Germany throughout different cities.

6. Scotland

Halloween in Scotland is one of the spooky places in the world. If you love a gory ghost story and spooky tale, there are plenty of ghost tours on offer. There’s even a choice of tours to hunt for ghosts. Whether you believe in them or not, this is an exciting adventure for the Halloween season. From candle-lit vaults to haunted houses, these are genuinely spine-tingling ventures. Scare yourself senseless and enjoy a range of events and activities throughout Scotland.

Another huge tradition in Scotland is pumpkin carving. Hollowed out, and made into a basic face with a light put inside, this task has been running for many years. Alternatively, another huge part of Halloween in Scotland is the Samhuinn Festival. Held on the 1 November, this festival marks the fall season and it embraces ancient Halloween culture.

Scotland has a rich and exciting Halloween culture. There’s no better time than the current day to participate in Halloween traditions in this area. Many traditions have remained unchanged, whilst others have evolved under the church’s influence. This constantly keeps you on your toes. Fire is a big part of Halloween in Scotland, and sometimes two bonfires are built side by side, sometimes with cattle walking between them as a cleansing ritual. Sometimes slaughtered cattle’s bones are cast upon the bonfires too. Each family then re-lights the hearth from the communal bonfire to bond families from different villages together.

Have You Celebrated Halloween Around the World?

We hope you enjoyed reading about Halloween around the world. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were centuries ago, and children continue to dress up in costumes for an evening of trick-or-treating. Many so many parties and events around the world, it’s the perfect time of year to party, be free and celebrate.

We’d love to hear about your Halloween experiences. Have you spent this time of year in an exciting country? We’d love to hear about your thoughts and experience in the comments.

Related Article:  The 31 Best Horror Movies for a Super Spooky October!

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