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Significance of Halloween and How It’s Celebrated in Different Parts of the World

By Stuart Owens Subscribe to RSS | December 16th 2011 | Views:

As we all know Halloween is one of biggest festivals that is celebrated in several parts of the world and is most popular in North America and Canada. Like Christmas this is celebrated in a very grand manner, Halloween also comes once every year and falls in the month of October and November. People on this day decorate their homes and offices to make this festival very exciting. Some of the countries where Halloween is celebrated are Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Latin America, Spain and Sweden.

An interesting fact is that almost all of these countries have their own significance and style in celebrating this festival. However, most of these countries call it in a different name. Like in China the festival is well known as Teng Chieh, Hong Kong calls it ‘Yue Lan,’ which means Festival of the hungry ghosts. The Japanese celebrate this as the ‘Obon Festival’ also known as Matsuri or Urabon and is dedicated to the spirits of their ancestors. In Korea, they thank their ancestors for the fruits of labor and call it ‘Chusok’. In Spaniard countries, it is generally known as ‘El Dia de los Muertos’. It’s a day for these people to remember all their friends and family who have died. In Sweden, Halloween is known as ‘Alla Helgons Dag’. The celebration is carried for a week that generally falls between 31st October and 6th November.

One common aspect about all these countries celebrating this festival is that, it is a festival that is celebrated with fruits and vegetables. Not only this, the festival involves a lot of fashion. People show their skills in decorating their houses with all sorts of natural items starting from fruits, different vegetables like pumpkin, beetroot and corn stalks are used. Stones, painting, and flowers are kept for decoration. For example, the Buddhists make ‘Boats of Law’ as a fashion with the help of a paper. Some of these are really huge and very beautiful. In the evening all these are burnt in front of their gods. The reason for burning had two aspects.

Firstly, it is to remember the people who have died in the past and by burning they are able to free the spirits of what they call as the ‘Pretas’. ‘Pretas’ are meant to be the spirits of those who have died due to a casualty or accident. The Chinese believe the presence of ‘pretas’ to be very dangerous. In order for their souls to rest in peace, they invite monks to their temples on this day. The monks perform sacred rituals along with fruits and flowers as an offering.

However, most of the Spanish speaking people from Mexico, Spain and Latin America have officially commemorated a November 2nd as the all-souls day. The festival is celebrated for three days starting from October 31st. The significance being the same, they decorate their houses with candy, flowers, photographs, fresh water. And also in addition to this, they prepare the favorite food and drinks of their friends who have died are kept along with these as a remembrance. Most often, a basin and a towel are kept for the spirits to wash before the feast begins. People go to the graves of their friends and family on this day and decorate it. Generally, a person is laid inside the coffin; people walk through the streets in a procession carrying this coffin, while the vendors watching this toss fruits, flowers and candies onto the casket.

If you watch television at your home, a lot of entertainment channels portray programs throwing tomatoes at each other, making a hole in a pumpkin and wearing it as a mask. Well, this is something similar to a Halloween festival; though there is a sense of bereavement, people enjoy Halloween thoroughly. I have seen a lot of these festivals on my television powered by Dish Network.

Stuart Owens - About Author:
Stuart is a freelancer writer who likes to write on a variety of topics ranging from technology to society. He likes to enjoy Halloween and follows these kinds of programs on his television powered by Dish Network.

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