Halloween, celebrated every year on October 31, is one of the oldest holidays in the world. Although it derives from ancient religious holidays and rituals, Halloween is still widely celebrated today in many countries around the world. In countries like Ireland, Canada and the United States, traditions include costume parties, trick or treat, pranks and games. Versions of the holiday are also celebrated elsewhere. In Mexico and other Latin American countries, Day of the Dead– Day of the Dead – honors deceased loved ones and ancestors. In England, Guy Fawkes Day, which falls on November 5, is commemorated with bonfires and fireworks.
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In MexicoLatin America and Spain, All Souls’ Day, which occurs on November 2, is commemorated with a three-day celebration that begins on the evening of October 31. The celebration is designed to honor the dead who are believed to return to their earthly homes Halloween. Many families build an altar in their homes to honor deceased loved ones and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, samples of the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks, and cool water. Often a sink and towel are left aside so that the spirit can wash before indulging in the feast.
Candles and incense are burned to help the deceased find their way home. Relatives also clean the graves of their deceased family members. This may include weed cutting, repairs and painting. The grave is then decorated with flowers, wreaths or paper streamers. On November 2, loved ones gather at the grave to have a picnic and reminisce. Some gatherings even include tequila and a mariachi band.
How Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in England
On the evening of November 5, bonfires are lit throughout England. Effigies are burned and fireworks are set off. Although it falls around the same time and has similar traditions, this celebration has little to do with Halloween or the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The English, for the most part, stopped celebrating Halloween as Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation began to spread. Since the followers of the new religion did not believe in saints, they had no reason to celebrate All Saints’ Eve. However, a new autumn ritual has emerged. Guy Fawkes Day the festivities were designed to commemorate the execution of a notorious English traitor, Guy Fawkes.
On November 5, 1606, Fawkes was executed after being found guilty of attempting to blow up the English Parliament building. Fawkes was a member of a Catholic group that wanted to remove the Protestant King James from power. The original Guy Fawkes Day was celebrated right after his execution. The first bonfires, called “bone fires,” were lit to burn effigies and symbolic “bones” of the Catholic pope. It was not until two centuries later that the effigies of the pope were replaced by those of Guy Fawkes.
As well as making effigies to burn in fires, children in some parts of England also walk the streets carrying an effigy or ‘guy’ and ask for ‘a penny for the bloke’, although they keep money for them. It is as close to the American practice of trick-or-treating as can be found in England today. Guy Fawkes Day was even celebrated by the Pilgrims of the early Plymouth Colony. However, as the young nation began to develop its own history, Guy Fawkes was celebrated less frequently and eventually disappeared.
How Halloween is celebrated in Ireland
In Ireland, the country of origin of Halloween, this day is still celebrated like in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as in the times of the Celts, and throughout the country, children dress up in costumes and spend the evening “trick-or-treating” in their neighborhoods.
After having a party, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends. At parties, many games are played, including “snap-apple”, a game in which an apple on a string is attached to a door frame or tree and players attempt to bite the hanging apple. In addition to looking for apples, parents often organize treasure hunts, with candy or pastries as “treasure.” The Irish also play a card game where cards are placed face down on a table with candy or coins underneath. When a child chooses a card, they receive the prize below it.
A traditional food eaten at Halloween in Ireland is barnbrack, a type of fruitcake that can be bought in stores or baked at home. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake and is said to be able to predict the eater’s future. If a ring is found, it means that the person will soon be married; a piece of straw means that a prosperous year is on the way. Children are also known to play pranks on their neighbors, such as “knock-a-dolly”, a prank in which children knock on their neighbors’ doors, but run away before the door is opened.
1 / 8: Chronicle/Alamy