Halloween Around the World

Cynthia Dermody
Big Kid
2

Halloween Guide

tweens dressed as punk rockers

Photo by growithlala

Halloween doesn't have to be all about candy, hyperactivity, raw eggs and toilet paper (as ... ehem ... fun as that stuff is). You can also turn the holiday into a teachable moment by sharing with your big kid traditions celebrated in other parts of the world.

The private group All Things Autumn (you have to apply for membership) has a great link with the background on a number of worldwide Halloween celebrations. One thing I didn't realize: Halloween, or equivalent international versions, is not celebrated on Oct. 31 everywhere.

My kids are of Irish ancestry, so I was particularly fascinated about the Celtic Samhain Festival.

According to All Things Autumn, this was the time to lead your livestock home from summer pastures to the winter shelters: "Samhain Eve was a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead grew thinner, and ghosts ventured toward the warmth if people's homes and hearths. The Celts built bonfires in memory of their departed ancestors and left food and drink on their tables overnight for eating by the ghosts.

"The name was eventually changed to All Saints' Day and October 31 became All Hallows' Eve or Hallowes' Even, and eventually would become Halloween. The practice of trick-or-treating has its roots in the English custom of "soul-caking." From medieval times onward poor people would beg door-to-door for spiced cakes that the householders would award as payment for prayers the beggars promised to say for the householders' ancestors."

Oh, I love telling my 6 year old these stories. Gives me a break from reading the The Legend of Sleepy Hollow over and over and over and over ..

Join the group and find your family ancestry's Halloween tradition.

 

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