As you all probably will know, Halloween celebration (the word comes from the contraction of "All Hallow's Even", that is, "Vigil of All Saints") was born in Ireland around the year 100 AC. The ancient Celts believed that on the 31st of October, the boundary between the living and the dead disappeared and the dead could be dangerous for the living. And to prevent from them they thought of litting large bonfires to scare away evil spirits and also they thought that if they could look like them wearing scary costumes and masks they would be safe.
When Irish immigrants went to America they took with them this tradition and from there it spread to other countries, like mine, Spain.
In my country what it is really celebrated it is the Day of All Saints, which is the 1st of November, on that date people visit the cemeteries carrying flowers (chrysanthemum flower is the most common) for their deceased loved ones and also they have typical foods to be eaten on this day: the so called “huesos de santo” (bones of saints) and the “buñuelos” (fritters) and outside the cities, people also take the opportunity to go out to the countryside to celebrate the "chestnut", where they spend a nice day with family eating chestnuts and walnuts. It is also customary in Spain to celebrate this day with performances of the play "Don Juan Tenorio" written by Jose Zorrilla.
But it has to be said that in Spain, as well as elsewhere, this celebration is becoming a big business, with many parties and events celebrated in many places on the night of October 31, with the sale of candy and rental of costumes, although at this point the Americans certainly takes the cake, as the fourth of all candy sold in a year, it is bought at this time of Halloween.
And how is this day celebrated in other countries of the world? Let's see...........
- In Ireland, where this tradition was born, bonfires are lit in rural areas and children in fancy dresses, trick-out and games are organized for them.
- In Canada and the U.S.A. is held very similar, with the traditional sweet request from door to door by children and costume parties (tradition that we have inherited Spaniards very enthusiastically in recent times).
- In Scotland, children compete for sweets, singing or telling jokes or stories. And women have a tradition there, in which you peel an apple in front of a mirror lit by a chandelier and according to a legend, if they can peel it in only one strip, the mirror will show the image of her future husband.
- In Austria, some people leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on a table before going to sleep, because in the past they considered that these objects were welcoming the souls of the dead returning to earth on that night.
- In Belgium, it is customary to light candles in memory of their dead relatives.
- In India there is the rite of Mahalaya, which consists of prayers to invoke the spirits of their ancestors.
- Mexico is very famous in its celebration of Dia de los Muertos, which is, in fact, a Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. And for three days many parades take place in the main streets and people visit the cemeteries taking flowers and food to their dead and make many altars, where they put food and drink, a photo of the deceased, a cross of ashes in case they are in purgatory and four skulls (three small and one big one, as representing God).
- In Peru, it is also customary to prepare altars as carefully as the Mexicans, making offerings throughout the night so that the deceased does not miss anything.
- In Guatemala they have a curious rite: they fly large kites during the days before November 2, to calm the dead and so they can return to their home the next day.
- In China it is performed Chin Ming Festival, which are customary to place willow branches on their doors to ward off evil spirits as they believe that if they do not, in their next life they will come converted into yellow dogs.
- In Hong Kong people make a party called "Yue Lan" which means "Festival of the Hungry Ghosts." They put pictures of fruits and money to reach their minds and stay, so peaceful.
- In Japan they celebrate their festival of the dead, known as Obon, in which they put lanterns on doorsteps, so that the dead are not lost.
In my country every year there are costumes that are the most popular and requested by people, but this year I have not heard yet what it is going to be the most popular and requested. But with or without disguise to wear, and meanwhile I am thinking over about mine…………...... I wish you all,
HAPPY HALLOWEEN AND ALL SAINTS DAY!