Five Halloween Traditions From Around the World

Everyone loves a good Halloween tradition. Here in the United States, we carve out spooky pumpkins and light them up, the kids go trick-or-treating, and we wrap our houses in cobwebs and orange lights. It’s an absolute blast for all ages, but have you ever been curious to see how the rest of the world gets their spook on during Halloween? Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of five ways other countries around the world celebrate the holiday, and let me tell you, you’re in for a real trick-or-treat!

1. Pangangaluwa

Pangangaluwa is a Tagalong tradition that takes place on Oct. 31 in the Philippines. During Pangangaluwa, children and teenagers go door to door soliciting for soul cakes or baked treats, and they sing songs and prayers. This is similar to the trick-or-treating done in the U.S. but holds a more spiritual meaning. The celebrators typically dress up in a sheet, representing lost souls asking for prayers from the living to help them leave purgatory.

2. Dracula and Vlad The Impaler

As Transylvania is located in Romania, it comes as no surprise that they indulge in the scary side of this holiday! Dracula is the fictional character based on a legendary deceased Romanian called Vlad the Impaler. Each year, the party at Vlad’s supposed stomping grounds Bran Castle is the spot to be. A huge party is enjoyed with red wine, black vodka, costume contests and candy for the children!

3. The Unofficial Birthplace of Halloween

If you want to celebrate a holiday the Irish way but can’t wait for St. Patty’s Day, look no further than Halloween! Ireland is credited for being the birthplace of the holiday. Because they have so many cool superstitious traditions, I picked my favorite: The Bonfire. This tradition was meant to encourage dreams of who your future spouse was, and to do so, you had to drop a small snippet of your hair into a bonfire. This was one of the least spooky traditions they had, but it was one of the first Celtic Halloween traditions.

4. Día De Los Muertos

Día de los muertos decorative skeleton Photo by Mario Rodriguez from Unsplash

Commonly mistaken for a “Mexican Halloween,” Día De Los Muertos or Day of The Dead, is in reality a beautiful and touching Mexican holiday. Families celebrate and welcome back their deceased relatives’ souls to celebrate, eat and drink with them in remembrance of the lives they led. The holiday has ancient origins, dating back over 3000 years to pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

5. Hungry Ghost Festival

The Hungry Ghost Festival, typically called “Yue Lan,” is celebrated in Hong Kong. During this festival, the spirits of their dead become restless and roam the land for 24 hours. In order to ease their burdens and comfort them, citizens of Hong Kong light fires to illuminate their journeys and place out food and gifts for them.

It’s amazing to see that cultures worldwide affect not only our day-to-day lives but our holiday traditions as well. You can find incredible beauty and astounding amounts of fun in celebrations that are different from what we’re used to. If you’re interested in celebrating Halloween this year in a way that follows another country’s traditions, make sure to do so safely and respectfully!

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