Across the globe, we all have wonderful reasons to celebrate! With the fall season reaching its peak, it’s interesting to see how other cultures celebrate this festive time of year! With that, let’s take a trip around the globe to see how others are ringing in this autumn season:
1. Oktoberfest (Germany)
Oktoberfest is a famous beer festival in Munich, featuring traditional Bavarian music, food, drinks and culture. The event typically runs for about 16 to 18 days, starting in late September depending on the year. Many festival-goers dress in traditional Bavarian clothing including lederhosen and dirndls. Dating as far back as 1810, the festival was originally held to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Today, it brings tourists far and wide to experience its unique and vibrant celebrations.
2. Dia de los Muertos or “Day of the Dead” (Mexico)
Dia de los Muertos is a meaningful Mexican holiday that honors deceased loved ones. Typically celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, the celebration is a time to remember and celebrate the lives of family and friends who have passed. It’s not a mournful occasion, but rather a joyful and bright tribute to the deceased. Families create ofrendas (alters) covered in photographs, candles, flowers (marigold flowers- cempasúchil – are believed to guide the spirits back to the world of the living with its vibrant color and bold scent) favorite foods and many more mementos of those who have passed. The ofrendas are meant to welcome and honor the spirits. The celebration is filled with many more traditions such as skeleton figures (Calacas and Calaverasa), face painting and cemetery visits. Overall, Dia de los Muertos is a unique and symbolic celebration of life and death.
3. Tsukimi (Japan)
Also known as Otsukimi, Tsukimi is a traditional Japanese holiday that celebrates the coming beauty of the autumn moon. Typically taking place on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar (September or October), people decorate their homes and gardens with seasonal produce meant to symbolize the harvest season. Enjoying small rice dumplings (Tsukimi dango) arranged in various patterns and shapes, these resemble the moon and are offered as a symbol of gratitude for the harvest. The event is also celebrated by lighting lanterns, composing poetry or Haiku and gathering with loved ones.
4. Samhain (Ireland)
Samhain is one of four major festivals along with Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh. However, Samhain is most significant as it represents a turning point in the Celtic calendar (moving from the lighter half of the year to the darker half). This event is a time spent gathering final crops and preparing for the winter months. It is a time spent feasting as well as preserving the food for the cold season ahead. Samhain is also associated with the belief that the proximity of the living and the spirit worlds becomes closer during this time of change. The celebration is used to honor and remember the loved ones of the past. Bonfires are lit and costumes are worn. Samhain, often considered “the precursor to the modern Halloween,” follow traditions like carving jack-o’-lanterns and going door-to-door for treats!
5. Mid-Autumn Festival (China)
The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important festivals in China. Similar to Tsukimi, the event takes place on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The festival has dated back over 3,000 years and is a time to give thanks for the harvest and to wish for prosperity and abundance in the coming year. Serving iconic foods like moon cakes, hosting family reunions, hanging lanterns, performing dragon and lion dances and viewing the moon, the festival is used for a time of joy and togetherness where all come together to celebrate in the culture’s rich history and all that is to come of the hopeful new year!
Happy holidays to all!