Halloween Traditions Around the World

Halloween traditions around the world. Pumpkin being carved

We’ve all seen the American version of Halloween portrayed in popular culture, television and film. However, trick-or-treating and carving pumpkins doesn’t necessarily take place all across the world.

Therefore, we share an insight into just some of the ways in which other communities celebrate Halloween traditions around the world.

 

Halloween traditions in Italy

Alongside the imported Halloween celebrations, some communities in Italy celebrate ‘Tutti i Santi’, popularly known as ‘Ognissanti’ on 1st November each year. As a religious holiday, during Ognissanti or ‘All Saint’s Day’, all saints and martyrs are honoured for their service to the church.

Many other communities around the world celebrate All Saint’s Day, including in Poland, France and Spain. The tradition dates back to the Celtic festival of Samhain, with All Saint’s Day incorporating some of the ancient festival’s traditions.

As an important Italian national holiday, businesses close to allow families to attend services across the country. Festivities don’t last just one day in Italy, with ‘Tutti i Morti’ or All Souls’ Day celebrated on 2nd November. All Souls’ Day offers the chance to reflect on lost loved ones and visit cemeteries to clean up their graves.

Halloween traditions in Italy. Cemetery during All Saint's Day
Candles burning at cemetery during All Saints’ Day in Italy

 

Italian Halloween vocabulary

Trick or Treat

dolcetto o scherzetto!

Monster

mostro

Pumpkin

zucca

 

Halloween traditions in Mexico

In Mexico, ‘Día de los Muertos’ or ‘The Day of the Dead’ represents a popular tradition still widely celebrated today. Whilst called Day of the Dead, the celebrations actually take place over two days, both the 1st and 2nd November. Día de los Muertos is a celebration of the lives of the deceased. The day sees family members and friends take part in ceremonial events and visit cemeteries to decorate graves of those lost.

Moreover, the tradition is symbolised by colourfully decorated Calacas (Skeletons) and Calaveras (Skulls). The Calacas and Calaveras can be seen lining streets and as part of costumes used by performers.

Halloween traditions in Mexico. Women wearing sugar skulls and costume
Women in Mexico dressed in traditional masks and costumes during Day of the Dead celebrations

 

Spanish Halloween vocabulary

Trick or Treat

truco o trato

Witch

bruja

Haunted house

casa embrujada

 

Halloween traditions in Japan

A notable mention for a Halloween tradition in Japan, are events like the Kawaski Halloween Parade, held on the last Sunday of October. The event draws in around 120,000 visitors each year, with over 3000 parade participants.

Participants compete for the chance to win the ¥500,000 (Just over £3100) prize for the best costume.

Halloween traditions in Japan. Visitors line the streets for Kawasaki Halloween Parade
Crowds gather during the annual Kawasaki Halloween Parade

 

Japanese Halloween vocabulary

Halloween

ハロウィン / Harowin

Bat

こうもり / Koumori

Monster

おばけ / Obake

 

Halloween traditions in USA

As a result of its popularity, Halloween is a big deal in America. Especially for retailers, with an expected $10.1 billion spend for Halloween 2021. (Source: Statista)

Celebrated on October 31st, the American-style Halloween has been used as a blueprint for celebrations across the world. Neighbourhoods across America take part in annual yard decorating competitions to see who can make the spookiest haunted house. Not forgetting the annual trick-or-treat celebrations, seeing children dress up and take to the streets for buckets full of confectionery.

Halloween traditions decorated yard in USA.
Yard decorations for Halloween celebrations in America

 

American Halloween facts

Halloween heritage

Halloween dates back to an old Celtic festival called Samhain. The pagan festival marked the end of summer, leading into the Celtic new year.

Top costume choices

The most popular American Halloween costumes include Spiderman (Children), Witch (Adults) and Pumpkin (Dogs)!

 

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