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Halloween traditions around the world

When we think of Halloween, we conjure up thoughts of pumpkins, witches, ghosts, fancy dress, and trick or treating! However, not everywhere in the world shares the same traditions and celebrations as we do in the UK. Many places have variations on what we reognise as Halloween, whereas some places have their own traditions which take place instead.

Mexico- Dia de los Muertos

In Mexico and parts of Latin America, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated on 1st and 2nd November. It is believed that the gates of heaven open up, and the souls of those that have passed return to earth to be reunited with their families for 24 hours and to celebrate. As part of the festivities, traditional food includes turkey, fruit, tortillas and a special bread call ‘pan de muerto’, or bread of the dead.

Mexican Skulls
Mexico- Dia de Los Muertos

Japan- Kawasaki Halloween Parade

For the past 23 years, visitors have flocked to Kawasaki, just outside Tokyo to take part in the annual Halloween parade that takes place at the end of October. In 2020, the parade will take place online meaning people from across the world can join in with the costume contest which this year has a ‘cyberspace’ theme.

Ireland & Scotland- Samhain

The Samhain festival has Celtic and Pagan routes and is still celebrated in Ireland and Scotland today. Samhain takes place on 31st October and is the division of the year between summer and the harvest season (the lighter half), and winter (the darker half). Barriers between the occupants of the physical world and occupants of the ‘otherworld’ are said to be broken down during Samhain allowing more interaction between the two.

Romania- Dracula Day

Celebrated on 26th May, Dracula Day takes place each year to commemorate the fictional character of Bram Stoker’s famous gothic novel. Price Vlad III of Wallachia in Romania, or Vlad the Impaler, was the real-life inspiration behind the character. Like Vlad, Dracula also lived in a castle, and the famous Bran Castle in Transylvania fits the description given by Bram Stoker perfectly, so it is now known as Dracula’s Castle, and each year people visit on Dracula Day.

Bran Castle
Romania- Dracula Day
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