Happy Halloween from Empower Me!
As more and more Halloween decorations and treats start to ‘creep up’ on us in the lead-up to October 31st, we can forget that Halloween is about more than dressing up and trick-or-treating. One of the many great things about Empower Me’s diverse team is that we get to learn about and celebrate different holidays and traditions from all around the globe. Did you know that Halloween is celebrated around the world with many fun and unique traditions?
Samhain | Ireland
Halloween is one of the world’s oldest holidays and it was born in Ireland. It dates back to ancient Celtic and Pagan rituals and a festival called Samhain – it’s surprisingly similar to modern-day Halloween. Today, Ireland and Scotland celebrate this holiday with bonfires, games, and traditional foods. Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruitcake filled with coins, buttons, and rings for fortunetelling. If you find a coin, it signifies wealth, and a ring signifies marriage within the year.
The Hungry Ghost Festival | China
Around mid-August to mid-September is when people in China believe spirits begin to get restless and roam the earth. This festival “feeds” these spirits with food and money for the afterlife. During the festival, families prepare meals that are served to empty seats around the dinner table, allowing the ghosts of family members to sit and enjoy. People also burn items from the human world such as money, clothes and small sculptures of luxury items for the spirits to enjoy.
Dia De Los Muertos | Mexico
From November 1st to 2nd, Mexico and other Latin cultures celebrate Dia de los Muertos. Also known as the Day of the Dead, it honours those who have passed away. They believe that on October 31st at midnight, the gates of heaven open and the souls of children return to Earth for 24 hours. On November 2nd, the souls of adults come and join in the festivities.
The living use altars and shrines and fill them with fruit, peanuts, turkey, soda, hot chocolate, water, and a bread called pan de muerto. These are left as offerings for ghosts. For the souls of children, toys and candy are left out, while adults receive cigarettes and shots of mezcal.
Pangangaluluwa | The Philippines
Pangangaluluwa is a tradition where children go door to door in costumes to sing and ask for prayers for those who are stuck in purgatory. Over the years trick-or-treating has been slowly replacing this tradition. Many citizens are working to revive this tradition to keep it alive.
Dzien Zaduszky | Poland
Early in November across Poland, people travel to cemeteries to visit the graves of their family members and honour the dead. The celebrating begins with tending to family graves with candles and flowers, and an offering of prayers are used for departed relatives. On the second day, people attend a requiem mass for the souls of the dead.
Pchum Ben | Cambodia
The people of Cambodia have a deep respect for their parents, grandparents, and ancestors. Pchum Ben is a 15-day ceremony and is a time for Cambodians to honour their ancestors and celebrate the elderly. It is known as one of the more important holidays in the country. During this time people give food and visit temples to offer baskets of flowers to pay respect.
How do you celebrate Halloween? Please share your Halloween traditions with us by tagging #EMHalloween on Twitter and Instagram.