Halloween Rituals Around the World

For most of us North Americans, Halloween conjured images of mountains of candy, jack-o-lanterns, cheesy decorations and music at the neighbours house, drunk pubcrawlers wearing completely ridiculous outfits that they would never dream of wearing normally. And for us Canadian prairie kids in particular, we remember with fondness how our moms tried valiantly to fit our costumes over top of our snowsuits and how we would inevitably reach a point where we were just too cold to keep going, despite the 20 more blocks of free candy that was up for grabs. Ahhh, good times.

But, have you ever wondered what they do for Halloween in other countries? I did a little research and here’s a small sampling of what I found:

  • In China, food and water is placed in front of photos of deceased family members to honour them
  • In Belgium, they really believe in the black cat superstition, and it’s bad news if one enters your house
  • In the Czech Republic, a fire is built and chairs for deceased people are placed beside it.
  • In Ireland, where Halloween originated, bonfires are lit across the country and many people hold parties, complete with festivities like apple-bobbing.
  • In Latin America and Spain, they celebrate El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) — and though it might seem like a sombre day, it’s actually quite the celebration — it lasts three days and commemorates the return of the dead to the earth.
  • In France, Halloween is a commercialized American holiday brought into the country by Coca-Cola.

So I’m curious — what happens on Halloween where you live?