Halloween in Different Cultures

Most people find the idea of death very fascinating. Various questions run through their mind such as, “Is there life after death?” “Where will I go when I die?” Nobody really knows the exact answer to this question. There are plenty of theories out there but none which have concrete evidence. Each country has different cultures which is their way of mourning the death of their loved ones. They honor their deceased family and friends in unique ways which are tied with specific traditions believed to keep the evil spirits away. It is very interesting to know how people from other countries make preparations for their deceased. Today, let’s discuss about Halloween in different cultures to discover how each one differs from one another.

The Chinese celebrate Halloween by annually holding a festival called The Feast of the Hungry Ghost or Teng Chieh. Various bonfires and lanterns are lit to serve as the spirit’s guide back to Earth. They arrange portraits of dead relatives and place water and food before them. The Chinese believe that wandering ghosts in the afterlife will look for care, recognition and food on Earth during Halloween.

Japan celebrates The Festival of the Dead, also known as Obon or The Festival of Lanterns every August. It is similar to a homecoming celebration of sorts. The Japanese believe that the spirits of their ancestors pay a visit to their living relatives on this day. In preparation for this festival, many Japanese have made it a tradition to prepare special meals to serve as offerings. The hanging of the lanterns outside their homes is believed to guide the spirits.

Every November 1, All Saints Day, the German Catholics visit the graves of their family members. They also honor the memory of saints on this day. Beginning from October 30 until November 8, it has been a tradition for Germans to hide knives. This is done to prevent the returning spirits from getting hurt by everyday knife movements.

With a close similarity to how Germans celebrate Halloween, Austrian Catholics also celebrate All Souls Week. This usually takes place between October 30 to November 8. It has been an Austrian tradition to turn on lamps during the night. They also leave bread and water for their loved ones who have passed away.

A celebration called P’chum Ben is held every September in Cambodia. It is closely linked to the lunar calendar. During this time, Buddhists bring beans wrapped in banana leaves and sweet sticky rice to honor their dead. This tradition is done in temples where family and friends gather together to hear the speeches of the monks and music.

At the end of autumn, citizens of Czech Republic celebrate the Commemoration of All the Departed. It is their tradition to place candles and flowers on the graves of their deceased. They also prepare their homes by placing a chair near the fireside for each of their dead relatives. Czechs believe in the legend that the living can still be able to communicate with the dead. This means that the living can still hear and respond to them.


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