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Culture

Autumn Traditions Around the World

Happy Autumn! Or Fall or Fall Equinox or whatever you want to call it! Now is the time for the leaves to change, the weather to become colder, sweaters and sweatshirts, football–for the States at least, and pumpkin everything. However, these are not the only things associated with the fall season. All around the world, there are traditions, old and new, that are centered around this seasonal time. While not all of these traditions are centered in the place of origin anymore, rather all over the globe as people have moved, they are celebrated by the people whose culture is deeply embedded in the celebration. Let’s take a quick trip around the globe to see them.

El Senor de los Milagros or the Lord of Miracle

El Senor de Los Milagros or the” Lord of Miracles” takes place in Peru and is celebrated for the entire month of October, with a few specific dates throughout the month. The dates of the celebration are the first Saturday of October, 18th, 19th, 28th, and the last procession takes place on November 1st. El Señor de Los Milagros is a catholic holiday and is one of the more popular religious celebrations in Latin America. The Lord of Miracles is the patron of Peruvian residents and immigrants and was a painted image on a wall in Lima that has withstood earthquakes without damage. October is also known as the “purple month”, so if you visited Lima in the middle of October, you may notice purple ornaments and people dressed in purple clothing as an offering to their patron.

Dia De Los Muertos 

Now a celebration that we all know about, Dia de Los Muertos or the “Day of the Dead.” It’s a two-day event that starts on October 31st and ends on November 2nd. This is a Mexican celebration that seeks to reunite the living and the dead and is seen as more of a happy time than a time of mourning. The origins of this celebration are highly debated as to whether it is an indigenous holiday or brought over by Spanish colonizers. Traditions surrounding the holiday include building ofrendas (home altar), honoring those passed with Calaveras which are the decorative sugar skulls you see in mainstream media, Aztec marigolds, the favorite foods and drinks of those deceased, and visiting graves with these gifts.

St. Martin’s Day

St. Martin’s Day, sometimes referred to as “Old Halloween,” originated in France then spread all across Europe. Celebrated on November 11th each year is the day that Saint Martin, a Roman soldier who later became a bishop in a French town and later became a patron of the poor, was buried in 397 AD. The feast and meat-permitted day now include the traditions of bonfires and dancing. Since the holiday is celebrated across Europe there are smaller celebrations like children carrying lanterns in Austria and Germany, the belief that if the temperature drops below freezing on St. Martin’s Day then Christmas won’t be white in Hungary, children in Estonia dress up as men and go door to door singing songs, and in Malta, kids are given bags of fruits and sweets.

Diwali

Diwali is a festival of lights and is a major festival among Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists. The festival is usually five days and is celebrated between mid-October and mid-November. Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.” The height of the celebration is on the third day, often referred to as the main Diwali, where temples and homes are glowing from the oil lamps, hence the name the festival of lights. Leading up to the celebration, people decorate their homes with diyas (oil lamps) and rangolis (colorful art circle patterns). When the festival begins those celebrating will worship Lakshmi (who is the goddess of prosperity and wealth), light fireworks, and have family feasts where gifts and sweets are shared. 

For more information on these seasonal celebrations, check out these links!

Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos)

Dia de los Muertos | National Geographic Society

El Señor de los Milagros, A Peruvian Tradition Full of Culture – Peru Hop

Diwali Festival – Deepawali, Diwalifestival.org

Happy Diwali | National Geographic Society

St. Martin’s Day in Germany (timeanddate.com)

The Dutch Winter Festival of St. Martin of Tours (thespruceeats.com)

https://www.kaiserslauternamerican.com/st-martins-day-traditions-honor-missionary/

Meg Hanff

App State '23

I am a junior Public Health major with a minor Anthropology from the eastern part of North Carolina. I love music, books (my family might think I love this one too much), sports, and learning about new things.
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