I didn’t grow up celebrating Halloween in Romania but quickly came to enjoy the holiday in the U.S.
So, let’s go around the world and see what other countries do on this, one of the oldest holidays:
Romania (country of my birth).
Halloween became popular in the mid 1990s. Now, it is a time for costumes and parties.
Halloween celebrations in Canada began with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Jack O’Lanterns are carved and the festivities include parties, trick-or-treating and decorating.
In China, the Halloween festival is known as Teng Chieh. Food and water are placed in front of photographs of family members who have departed. Worshipers in Buddhist temples fashion “boats of the law” from paper, which are then burned in the evening hours to free the spirits so they might ascend to heaven.
At one time, English children made “punkies” out of large beetroots, upon which they carved various designs. They would carry their “punkies” through the streets while singing the “Punkie Night Song” as they knocked on doors and asked for money.
Unlike most nations , Halloween is not celebrated by the French in order to honor the departed ancestors. It is regarded as an “American” holiday and was virtually unknown in the country until around 1996. Not much different from Romania.
In Ireland, believed to be the birthplace of Halloween, the tradition is still celebrated as much as it is in the U.S.
Bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts and children dress up in costumes to spend the evening “trick-or-treating” in their neighborhoods. Most people attend parties with neighbors and friends.
Children are also known to “knock-a-dolly,” where they knock on the doors of their neighbors then run away before the door is opened.
Mexico, Latin America And Spain
Among Spanish-speaking nations, Halloween is known as “El Dia de los Muertos.” It is a time to remember friends and family who have died. Officially commemorated on November 2 (All Souls’ Day), the three-day celebration begins on October 31.
Many families construct an altar in their home and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, fresh water, and food. A basin and towel are left out so the spirit can wash prior to indulging in the feast. Candles are burned to help the departed find their way home.
On November 2, relatives gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. Some of these gatherings may include tequila and a mariachi band although American Halloween customs are gradually taking over this celebration.
~~~~~~ I hope you’ll return for a picture-only post after Halloween (We’ll document our trick-or-treating experience). In the meantime, I’d love to read your favorite Halloween story.