As we hit the last week of the month of October this is the perfect time to take a look at celebration of Halloween around the world. Originally, Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows' Eve, the eve or vigil before the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints) which is celebrated on 1 November. There are multiple ways to experience these days, from wearing colorful costumes to quiet contemplating life and death.
1. USA - Halloween
Halloween became an American feast after great transatlantic migration of Irish people in the middle of 19th century. It’s mainly about dressing up as ghosts, zombies, skeletons and other horror creatures and walking door-to-door, ringing doorbells and yelling “Trick or treat!”. Houses and yards are decorated with carved pumpkin jack-o’-lanterns. It’s getting more and more popular in European countries as well. Nowadays it’s more commercialized
2. Mexico - Dia de los Muertos
Very colorful and unique feast. During Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. Later it was associated with time between October 31 and November 2 to coincide with the Christian triduum of Allhallowtide so there are few similarities such as putting food and beverages on graves. People also create colorful altars for ancestors and participate in parades in whole Mexico.
3. Poland - Dziady
This is less humorous version of Halloween. While it’s not celebrated anymore nowadays it’s popular because of the one of the most important literary works of the Romantic era - Forefathers’ Eve by Adam Mickiewicz. This pagan Slavic feast took place usually nearby the graves of the ancestors. This ritual was linked to a believe that during seasonal changes spirits of the dead returned from the afterworld to interact with one’s ancestors. Celebration included leaving food mainly bread and honey on their graves as gifts for their eager souls. Nowadays Dziady are replaced by All Saints’ Day during which people visit their ancestors graves and give them flowers and candles while praying for their souls.
4. China - Hungry Ghost Festival
It’s a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival in several Asian countries, e.g. in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and China. It takes place on the 15th night of the 7th month (according to lunisolar calendar). It’s believed that this is one night when ancestors meet the living. These ghosts are believed to be ancestors of people who didn’t pay tribute to them after death. Family members leave the food to feed ghosts and burn hell bank notes and other forms of joss paper. Lotus-shaped lanterns are lit and set in rivers to guide the lost souls of forgotten ancestors to the afterlife.
Of course, there are many more ways to celebrate Halloween in other countries around the world but we’ve chosen the most characteristic ones. Don’t forget to rent Polish WiFi if you decide to go to Poland in November!