Halloween is coming up and we are so excited! We’ve already posted about how to care for your teeth during the onslaught of sugar, alternatives to candy, and had some pretty cool Halloween ideas, but what about other the holiday itself? Do other countries celebrate Halloween the same way we do? Do they even know what Halloween is? Do they visit their dentists after eating way too much candy!? Don’t worry, we have the answers.
Halloween Around the World
Do you know what Halloween means and the history behind it? The tradition of Halloween actually originates from the Celtic tradition called Samhain. We wanted to learn more about Halloween and we wondered how children celebrated Halloween in other countries . We did some research and discovered the origin of this American holiday.
People believed that on Samhain their deceased loved ones could roam the earth for one night, and they celebrated by feasting and dancing! However, as much of the world became more Christianized the name changed. It used to be called All Hallow’s Eve, but has been shortened to Halloween.
Many other countries around the world observe holidays that celebrate departed loved ones. Although they aren’t the same as Halloween, they are similar to our version of Halloween and share common ideas. Ideas like Jack O Lanterns and celebrating the dead. So which countries are they?
Canada celebrates Halloween in much the same way that we do, even trick-or-treating and dressing up! Canadians use Halloween to celebrate the supposed day when dead ancestors can cross into the land of the living, which is the same as us! In fact, Canadians are so big into celebrating Halloween that they spend even more money than Americans on candy and decorations!
It’s time for Dia De Los Muertos! This means Day of the Dead, and is a Mexican holiday celebrated around the same day as Halloween. Mexicans celebrate and remember their dead loved ones. Though they do not believe that dead ones return for this holiday, they spend the time praying and remembering their ancestors. They hold festivals and parades full of food and color! They also have a tradition of painting their faces in brightly-colored recreations of skulls, like this little girl. We think this looks like a lot of fun!
Scotland, Ireland, and Wales
These countries in the United Kingdom come from Celtic ancestry, and as such have kept the traditions of the original Samhain and celebrate around October 31st by gathering families together and having parties and feasts! The people who celebrate Samhain take the honoring of their dead very seriously, even religiously! Many people hold rites and rituals, as well as visit the gravestones of loved ones on this special night. If you think graveyards are scary, don’t worry, it’s just to put flowers on headstones and pray and remember!
In Japan they take the time to celebrate and honor their ancestors through the Obon Festival. The Obon Festival is similar to our version of Halloween and the Celtic version of Samhain in that it celebrates the deceased through dancing and festivals. The difference is that it’s celebrated in summer! This Japanese holiday has been going on for 500 years and looks like this:
Cambodia, a country near Thailand, celebrates Pchum Ben, a holiday to honor their deceased loved ones. It is celebrated by feasts, dancing, festivals, and visiting the graves of their ancestors. Cambodians celebrate this holiday for 15 days! We wish Halloween was that long…
Have you ever heard of Chinese New Year? This is the country-wide holiday where Chinese celebrate the passing of another year, similar to our New Year’s Eve/Day. The difference is that they also take this time to remember and honor any loved ones who have passed on. They celebrate through the traditional ways of festivals, parades, and lots of delicious food, and they decorate with red lanterns like these!
Wow, Halloween sure is different around the world! But we are not alone in our celebration of deceased ancestors and loved ones. How do you celebrate Halloween with your family? Do you carve pumpkins and dress up? Do you eat lots of candy after trick-or-treating? Or does your celebration consist of something closer to Samhain or Pchum Ben? Let us know! And for all the parents out there concerned with the American tradition of sugar overload, you can always set up an appointment with Burg Children’s Dentistry here. Happy Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos, Chinese New Year, or whatever you celebrate, and we hope to see you soon!