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5 Halloween Traditions From Around the World!

10-31-2020 by Paige Pfeifer

  ( © Richard Lakin/Xinhua via Getty Images)  


Candy Corn and The Monster Mash are grossly American Halloween staples (“grossly” being the key word, re: the orange/yellow/white monstrosity passing itself off as candy). The holiday is ultra-commercialized, with Hallmark movies, candles, and bedsheets capitalizing off the orange-and-black mania. Although our Halloween traditions can be fun, a number of countries have their own ways of celebrating the spirits. Here are 5 of them from around the world!


1. Czech Republic: Pálení ÄŒarodÄ›jnic

The last night of April marks a transitional period in Bohemian culture. Pálení ÄarodÄ›jnic, or “The Burning of the Witches”, is a pagan tradition in which giant bonfires are lit to ward off evil spirits. A straw witch, representing Winter, is paraded through town and then thrown into the flames, followed by dancing and celebration. It marks the thawing of the ice and snow and the arrival of Springtime, when life starts anew.


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Apr 30, 2018 at 12:22pm PDT



2. Mexico: Día de los Muertos

The Day of the Dead is a celebration of life and death. In Mexican culture, death is viewed as another step in the spiritual cycle and as such is honored with homemade altars, marigolds, and personal memorials. Gifts, oftentimes food and drink, are left at the graves of loved ones for their visits back to our realm. Candles, tissue paper decorations, and sugar skulls are common traditions associated with the holiday.




3. China: The Hungry Ghost Festival

This festival is part of a larger Ghost Month, when the ancestral ghosts of the Chinese people are let loose from the gates of Hell. It is said that the ghosts can be tricky and angry, so it is tradition to cook a feast, present family tablets and photographs, and relay past behavior to the spirits in order to receive a blessing or a punishment.


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Sep 21, 2020 at 11:03am PDT



4. Romania: Party at Bran Castle

Although Romanians observe the Feast of St. Andrew on November 30, where they feast and divine with ghosts, they are better known for their Dracula-related get-togethers. Every year on Halloween, a huge party is thrown at Bran Castle, a royal estate in Transylvania that matches the description of Count Dracula’s dwelling perfectly. A ticket includes a tour, a stay in the castle, the party, and a feast. Tickets are usually around €249, but thewebsite promises compensation if “you don’t have a reflection in the mirror, you decompose when sunlight strikes you,” or “you’re over over 200 years old.”




5. Scotland: Guising, etc

Scotland has some pretty fun Halloween traditions. Guising is similar to trick-or-treating, where children dress up and visit their neighbors houses to sing songs in exchange for sweets. They bob for apples, which isn’t too outrageous, but they also attempt to eat jam-covered scones off of strings while blindfolded. A particularly fun game they play includes peeling the skin from an apple and tossing it over one’s shoulder; whatever letter-shape the peel lands in is the initial of the peel-thrower's future spouse.


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Oct 31, 2019 at 2:11am PDT


It turns out ghosts are pretty universal. Better than candy corn.