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Curious Halloween traditions from around the world

30 October 2020 17:25

Discover some alternative Halloween traditions

Discover some alternative Halloween traditions

Would any of these eclectic Halloween rituals give you nightmares?

1. Festival of the Ancestors | Haiti

A Voodoo holiday celebrated in Haiti, Fed Gede or 'The Festival of the Ancestors' is typically held in the first two days of November. During the festival revellers dress up and take to the streets to dance with their ancestors, ending in the graveyards where they feast with their ancestral spirits and grant themselves protection for the year to come.

2. Pchum Ben | Cambodia

In Cambodia, Halloween celebrations last for a little over two weeks, usually around September/October. During these fifteen days, Cambodian Buddhists believe the gates of hell are opened and souls are allowed to wander Earth. The holiday is celebrated by offerings of food and flowers to dead relatives, dressing in vibrant colours and engaging in religious rituals.

3. Samhain | Ireland/Scotland

A Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and welcoming in the 'darker half' of the year. The tradition originated in ancient Celtic society, when people would light bonfires and dress up in costumes to ward off ghosts. Today, the holiday is still celebrated by some in Ireland and Scotland with fireworks, music, dance celebrations and feasting.

4. The Hungry Ghost Festival | China

Yu Lan, or The Hungry Ghost Festival, is a Chinese celebration that lasts for a whole month, from the seventh day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar. During this month it is believed that ghosts and spirits are freed from the lower realm to walk among the living. Traditions include parades and operas to entertain the spirits, burning incense and offerings of food for the dead.

5. Dia de Muertos | Mexico

'The Day of the Dead' is a three-day celebration that takes place in Mexico, plus parts of Spain and Latin America. Dressing in elaborate costumes, communities gather in graveyards to greet the souls of their dead relatives who, it is believed, return to Earth on Halloween. Decorating their graves, families come together to eat and drink their relative's favourite dishes, along with candies and breads often in the shape of skulls and skeletons.

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