The origin of Halloween points back to Ireland. Today, the tradition is spread across the globe, and people still have common practices to mark Halloween – bonfires, putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, parties, etc. Here are some unique ways in which people commemorate Halloween around the world.
The Obon Celebration in Japan
Obon is a Buddhist celebration marked on the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month and lasts for three days. Buddhists mark this day by preparing special foods and hanging bright red lanterns everywhere. The initial day sees people make and bring special foods, fruits, lanterns and cakes to the graveyards. During the second day, people take vegetarian diets to the burial place of their loved ones. On the third day, people come together, dance and float paper lanterns on nearby rivers and sea. Partakers believe that the dead return to their birthplace during this time.
El Dia de Los Muertos – Day of the Dead Mexico, Spain and some parts of Latin America
The day of the dead festival starts on the first day of November at midnight and end on the second day of November. The festival remembers the souls of the departed loved ones. Partakers usually build an altar in their homes to commemorate the day. They then decorate the altars with candy, pictures, freshwater, flowers, and the deceased’s favorite foods and beverages.
Kawasaki Halloween Parade in Japan
The Kawasaki Halloween Parade is a large parade that takes place just outside Tokyo. This unique event attracts almost 4000 Halloween fans from different locations across the globe. However, there is a limitation to participating in the parade. The event has a set of strict guidelines and standards that one must comply with to attend. The implication is that participants need to apply for entry two months before the parade commences.
Pangangaluluwa in the Philippines
During, Pangangaluluwa, children (often in costume) move door to door where they sing in exchange for prayers for loved ones stuck in purgatory. As years pass by the tradition is quickly shifting towards trick-or-treat. However, some people are working persistently to restore the Pangangaluluwa tradition as a means of fundraising and keeping the tradition alive.
Teng Chieh – Hungry Ghost Festival in China
The residents of Hong Kong mark this on the 15th of the seventh lunar month (around mid-August – mid-September). The month-long celebration is characterized by giving food to the spirits of the dead relatives and friends. Partakers also offer money for the spirits to use in the afterlife. They believe that the ghosts roam the world at this time of the year.
Awuru Odo Festival in Nigeria
Nigerians celebrate Awuru Odo festival to observe the return of the departed, family members and friends back to the living. Activities include holding feasts, music and putting on masks before the deceased depart back to the spirit world. The ritual is a biannual event that continues for up to six months.
Chuseok in Korea
The Chuseok festival occurs in September. Koreans mark the Chuseok day to offer gratitude to their ancestors for the rewards of their labor. Families honor the spirits of the departed by visiting their graveyards and offering rice and fruits.
Pchum Ben in Cambodia
The people of Cambodia Pchum Ben, every fifteenth day of the tenth Khmer month to pay respect for the ancestors. Buffalo races are part of the activities that take place during the festivities. The monks also chant to signal the opening of the gates of hell, which causes the spirits of the dead to become active. People usually give food offerings to appease the spirits.
Ghede – The Haitian day of the dead
The voodoo celebrations occur throughout November but mainly at the beginning of the month. Partakers gather at cemeteries to honor the dead. They bring gifts including flowers foods, homemade beeswax candles, and spiced alcohol. The festivity is marked by dances in which the ancestors are believed to participate.
Gai Jatra in Nepal
Partakers mark Gai Jatra or the Festival of cows to remember and honor those who perished in the previous years. A cow leads a procession of those bereaved during the year. They believe that the cows lead the dead to heaven.