Halloween Traditions Around The World

Did you know Halloween actually began in Ireland? Hop-Tu-Naa celebrates the ancient Celtic festival of Samhainn when the deceased are believed to return to earth to cause havoc, kick-starting the tradition of Halloween. 
‘Bobbing for apples’ is one of the most popular Halloween traditions in Ireland, in which players grab floating apples using only their mouth. The traditional black and orange colours can also be traced back to Samhain, as black represents the death of summer while orange symbolises the autumn harvest season. As can the scary attire, as regular individuals dressed as ghouls so to be mistaken for one of the spirits themselves and avoid being terrorised.
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In China, they place food and water in front of photographs of relatives who have passed away, during the Teng Chieh festival. They also light bonfires and light lanterns to let go in the night sky, guiding the spirits of their loved ones back to earth. In Hong Kong, locals celebrate Yue Lan (‘The Hungry Ghost Festival’) in which ghouls have been roaming the earth for 2 weeks and are now weary and ravenous. Prayers are also offered to the deceased, and the burning of items such as food and even banknotes commences, which is said to provide those in the afterlife with everything they need.
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Interestingly, Italians bake cakes in the shape of beans called Fave dei Morti, which translates to ‘Beans of the Dead’. These are eaten on the Italian Day of the Dead called La Commemorazione Dei Defunti, and these beans were originally thrown over the shoulders of mourners at a funeral to honour the dead. Deceased relatives graves are decorated with flowers and masses held for the souls of the departed.
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In the United States, Halloween is one of the most celebrated and commercially- driven traditions. Local children ‘Trick or Treat’, in which they knock on their neighbours doors dressed in spooky attire and tell a joke or sing a song in exchange for candy. Jack-o-lanterns are displayed outside homes of those that welcome guests. This stems from ‘belsnickling’, an old age tradition in which children dressed in costume would visit their neighbours, and the neighbours would have to guess the identity of the person underneath. Children were then rewarded with treats if the neighbour guessed incorrectly. One of the most popular candy around this time is candy corn, mostly due to its association with harvest time.
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Mexico’s Día de Muertos or ‘Day of the Dead’ festival is on the 2nd of November and features the popular figure of La Catrina – an image symbolising upper class Mexican women. The festival includes vibrant outfits, tasty dishes and painting of sugar skulls.
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Here in Scotland, we incorporate many of these traditions from around the globe in our Halloween celebrations. On 31st October children dress up as their favourite festive character and visit homes of those displaying jack-o-lanterns, but we call it ‘guising’. This tradition however has a slightly more sinister background, stemming from the middle ages in which peasants would visit local homes begging for food and money. We also bob for apples, indulge in festive goodies and carve pumpkins. 
So however your country celebrates Halloween, we at Teviotdale Mills hope you have a frightfully fantastic celebration.