Celebrating Halloween Around the World
Here at Women Traveling the World, we like to embrace the cultures and traditions of the countries we travel to. Experiencing the scope of differences and commonalities around the world and living a bit like a local is really the only way to get the full experience of a place. Since Halloween is upon us, let’s examine the modern ways in which countries around the world celebrate this ancient holiday which originated from the Celtic-speaking countries.
Halloween in Germany is a relatively new holiday; they’ve only been celebrating for about 20 years now. Many Germans see current Halloween traditions in Germany as an Americanization of their culture, but many still choose to take part in the festivities. You won’t see many children trick or treating on Halloween, but that is because Germans have their own holiday, St. Martinstag, in which they go door to door asking for candy. It takes place only 11 days after Halloween.
Japan is another country where Halloween is slowly gaining popularity. This is due in large part because of Halloween festivities taking place at Universal Studios Japan and Tokyo Disneyland. Before these events started taking place, Halloween in Japan largely consisted of American tourists dressing up in costumes and going out at night, but the Japanese seem to be gaining affection for the holiday. Japan celebrates its own spooky holiday in August, called the Obon Festival. It’s a time reserved for cleaning the graves of the deceased, and when the spirits of the dead visit their family homes. There are also spooky stories about Yurei, which are spirits that haunt those that mistreated them in life.
Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead, which has different origins than the Americanized Halloween. The festivities are reserved for honoring the deaths of ancestors. The celebration spans three days: on the last day of October, children build an altar to invite the spirits of dead children back to the earthly realm. November 1st is all saints day, when the adult spirits visit, and November 2nd is All Souls Day, which is reserved for decorating the graves of the dead with marigolds, sugar skulls and the favorite food and drinks of the deceased.
Like Germany, Halloween has only been celebrated in Sweden since the 90’s, but the country is particularly well suited to the holiday due to its transition into darkness by the beginning of November. Halloween is a welcome release for Swedes who don’t get a public holiday between summer holiday and Halloween. They celebrate by attending fancy-dress parties or ghost parties, and by trick or treating throughout neighborhoods.
Whether you want to travel during Halloween season or any time of year, Women Traveling the World has many group travel packages for women to destinations throughout the world. You can find out more about our singles tours, and contact us at (866) 753-1552.