Halloween Around the World
It is one of the oldest holidays in the world though it is believed that it has the Scottish Origin. People all around the globe celebrate it in their own unique ways.
People leave a piece of bread and water beside a lamp before retiring to bed as it is believed that on this powerfully cosmic night it brings the dead back on earth.
In Belgium, people light candles in memory for their dead relatives. On this day it is believed if a black cat crosses the path or enters a home it brings bad omen.
In Chinese, Halloween is known as "Teng Chieh" and the people put food and water in front of their deceased family and relatives. In the evening they light lamps so that the path through which the spirits will come remains illuminated. The Buddhists make 'boats of law' from paper and then burn them to ashes. This ritual is believed to free the spirits of those who died in unnatural death. In many households people invite monks to chant hymns and offer fruits.
English children make 'punkies' (designs carved on beetroots) and sing "Punkie Night Song" asking for money while visiting homes. Some make turnip lanterns to protect their homes from evil spirits. It is a customs to toss stones, vegetables or nuts in the fire to scare the spirits. This custom also tells the fortune of an individual. For example if a young couple tosses a nut in the fire and it bursts it means that they will have a disturbing married life or if a pebble is thrown in the fire and the next morning it is not visible then the person who threw it will not survive the following year. However, with time children in England also go for trick - or - treating.
The Germans, clean the cemeteries and decorate the place with lanterns and flowers to honor the deceased. It is a custom here to keep away all the knives so that the spirits while returning to the living world don't get hurt.
Halloween originated here. Children dressed in different costumes visits houses for trick - or - treat and bonfires are lit like the ancient times. People arrange for parties that include many fun activities like 'Snap Apple' also known as apple bobbing. A traditional food 'barnbrack' (a fruit cake) is eaten on this day.
The Italians on this day pray in churches for the dead and they keep their homes unlocked with sumptuous food on the table. They think that the dead will return and consume the food left on the table. A special bread or cookie made of almonds, pine nuts, sugar, eggs and flour are made to honor the spirits. They are known as "Fave dei morti" (Bones of the Dead) and are shaped into large beans.
In Japanese the festival is known as "Matsuri", "Urabon" or "Obon Festival" and is celebrated in the memory of the dead. People put water and food in front of the photographs of their deceased relatives and light lanterns. Later, they set afloat the lanterns in water so that the spirits can find their respective families.
The Russians believe that the blue cats, (like Russian blue, Burmese and British Blue) can bring good luck on this day.
Halloween in Sweden is also known as "Alla Helgons Dag" and is celebrated from 31st October to 6th November. People celebrate this holiday for the remembrance of their deceased relatives.
The Spanish, on this day make a special, skull shaped pastry known as 'Bones of the Holy' which contains anise seed and covered with an orange glaze. Children enjoy trick - or - treat and the families visit graveyards of their relatives and keep a watch throughout the night. The next day they clean their family burial plot.