Halloween has its history dated back to the pagan world and Romans times, to even further back during the Celtics time. It had different meanings in the different times, but one key importance of it that remains up to date is its representation of the superstitious world and honoring the death. It also represents the transition from summer to winter in the countries with such weather patterns. The popularity of Halloween grew over time and has become very popular because it is good, simple and fun, bringing together people in a society or community together in an event, both the old and the young.
It all started in Ireland, from the Celtic people who marked the move from summer to winter and celebrating a bumper harvest. Today, Halloween is still celebrated there but in a more modern way. People attend parties and wear costumes as kids perform trick-or-treat as they move from door to door with an apple on a string. Parents would play treasure hunt games with their children by hiding gifts and letting the kids find search for them and they would also play card games with sweets covered and whatever lied beneath was considered a gift.
In Austria, Halloween night is considered to be magical. Before one went to sleep, he or she would leave some bread and water and leave a light lamp on as they went to bed. It was believed that on that night, the dead’s soul would come back to earth and the bread was meant for them.
In Canada and the United States, Halloween was greatly influenced by arrival of the Irish and Scottish immigrants. The most common symbol of it is the jack-o-lanterns which are carved during the season and holding parties and wearing costumes that symbolized Halloween like the witch’s gown.
In China festival is commonly known as Teng Chieh. The Chinese put food and water in front of pictures of their family members who had died and lanterns would be lit to show the path to the spirits as they hovered around during the Halloween night.
In England, on the night of Halloween, young people would go round knocking people’s homes asking for money and gifts. They would sing and expect payment. Families would put light turnips on their door posts to keep away spirits from the homes. When around a bonfire, they would throw stones, nuts and other objects to frighten and chase away the spirits.
In France, Halloween was not recognized and was considered an American culture. They didn’t see sense in it till the late 1980s when an American bar started to celebrate it. French companies also started advertising using pumpkins and other Halloween symbols as the day neared. Over time, people learnt of the event and started practicing it by going to bars and restaurants and holding parties and gatherings. They would wear scary costumes like vampires and mummy’s. Up to date, they really don’t see the sense in the event and still consider it American and just do it for the hype.
In Germany, Halloween isn’t also widely celebrated. The people though put away their knives and hide them in fear that the visiting spirits might use it to attack them or other people.
The Japanese don’t celebrate Halloween too. They have an almost similar tradition of their own which they call “matsuri” or the Obon festival. They believe that on that day, the spirits will roam the world for twenty four hours therefore they make sacrifices and burn things like money hoping it will please the dead. They also light lanterns and set them afloat on rivers and seas. They light their cities and bonfires are made as the day is considered a day to reconnect with ancestors.