Halloween Around the World


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Halloween traditions around the world are a sight to behold.

Holliday Palazzolo, Reporter

Halloween, a time of the year where people can dress as horrifying as they want, and be awarded candy at the same time, a holiday cherished by millions. Many people have a basic understanding of how Halloween came to be the holiday it is today. Nearly 2,000 years ago, during the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, the people believed that on October 31st, Demons, Evil spirits, and monsters would emerge from the underworld. In order to survive the night, the people would dress up as monsters to confuse the demons, and leave out offerings so the demons wouldn’t get too aggressive. A few centuries later, Halloween evolved into what it is today, and many people go all out one the one night of the year to show how terrifying they can really be. However, a majority of people in America are unaware of the different Halloween traditions, or holidays similar to Halloween around the world, and it’s a shame it’s often overlooked, because some of those traditions are fascinating, and deserve to be recognized by more people.

One of the most well-recognized Halloween-like holidays, “Dia De Los Muertos” also known as “Day Of The Dead”. The day of the dead is a holiday that goes on from midnight, November first, to midnight, November second, and is most commonly celebrated in places like Mexico. 

“Although I’ve never been to a festival myself, my parents did go to Mexico on vacation before Day of the Dead, so they did get to experience some of the traditions while there,” Ms. Quinn, our Spanish Teacher, said.

Dia De Los Muertos is traditionally a day to honor family, friends, and loved ones who passed away. More importantly, the people that celebrate Dia de los muertos believe that Day of the dead is the one day of the year where the spirits of their loved ones can come back to visit their living relatives. People decorate the gravestones of their loved ones, and most commonly decorate “Ofrendas”, an altar-like table decorated with the pictures of loved ones, along with flowers, candles, and food and trinkets that they loved in life. Although the origins of Dia de los Muertos have been lost over the years, it’s known for a fact that Day of the Dead sprang up from ancient Aztec and Catholic beliefs and holidays, and evolved into what it is today, a holiday about honoring loved ones and giving them a chance to visit their living relatives again.

Another Halloween-like holiday that some people might know about is Oktoberfest, a holiday celebrated within Germany around the same time as Halloween. Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival, often celebrated with live German music, authentic German food, and more iconically, beverages. 

“When it comes to the “dressing up” aspect of Halloween, the only thing in Germany that is relatively similar is Karneval,” Alina Appelbaum, our German language teacher, said.

 Traditionally, Kerneval is a time to dress up and spend the day breaking all the rules, but Karneval usually occurs during the spring. Oktoberfest originated on October 12th, 1810, to celebrate the Marriage of the Prince of Bavaria (who later became King Louis the first), and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. However, the Princesses father wanted to hold the wedding before it started getting cold, and due to October occurring during the cold fall, the King moved the wedding toward the end of September, which is why Oktoberfest usually occurs sometime around late September.

“We are mostly from the Western region of Germany,” Severin Bohn and Amelie Franzen, our German exchange students, said. ” Since the Southern region of Germany is where Oktoberfest originated, the southern region tends to go all out during Oktoberfest. When it comes to Oktoberfest traditions, there’s actually not that much that the Americans leave out of Oktoberfest when it comes to the food, music and drinks. So far, the only thing that they leave out are the rides and the occasional competitions.”

It’s nice that when it comes to foreign holiday’s some people choose to research, and better yet, celebrate it. Although there’s hundreds of different Halloween traditions/similar holidays, Day of the dead, and Oktoberfest are the only two holidays that most Americans know about. If people took the time to better recognize foreign holidays, it would create a better understanding and respect for foreign students and their culture. But until then, everyone enjoy their Halloween.