Halloween is thought to have evolved from Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival, over 2,000 years ago where people wore costumes and built bonfires to keep ghosts away. After Pope Gregory III created All Saints’ Day on November 1 in the eighth century, the evening before came to be known as All Hallows’ Eve, which eventually became Halloween. The American and Canadian version of Halloween is far from its ancestors – spooky decorations, bags of candy, and pop culture-inspired costumes. But this version isn’t the only way people celebrate Halloween around the world – read on to discover more.
Germany and other countries with Catholic histories often celebrate All Saints’ Day, and in the southern region of Germany, the holiday lasts from October 30 to November 8. A typical day consists of attending church services, honoring deceased family members by visiting their graves, and remembering Catholic saints.
Since Ireland was the birthplace of Samhain, the Irish do Halloween unlike any other culture. The Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival is held in the region where Samhain was celebrated, and all around the country festivities like bonfires, games, and fortune-telling take place. Barmbrack, a type of fruitcake, is a traditional Halloween food. Another Halloween tradition is that kids often ring the doorbells of homes and run away before the owner opens them.
Mexico, Spain, Latin America
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, takes place in Mexico, Spain, and Latin America starting on October 31 and lasting for three days. The festivities honor beloved souls who have passed away, as people believe they return home once a year on Halloween. Candles are lit to help the dead find their way home, and altars are put together in the home with photos, decorations, and the person’s favorite foods and drinks.