My personal blog has a lot of international readers. Last year, I wrote about the history of Halloween and how it is celebrated in the US since I knew many of our readers were curious. Parentella also has many international readers, so I thought I would share an excerpt from the post:
“Halloween has its roots in European history. The Celtic people believed ghosts came out on the night of October 31, and wore costumes so the ghosts would not recognize them. The Romans had two holidays they celebrated in October, one in honor of the goddess of fruit trees (symbolized by the apple) and one to honor the dead. When the Romans conquered the Celts, the three celebrations were all morphed into one, celebrated the night of October 31st and day of November 1st.
When Christianity became the dominant religion, the Church re-named the holiday All-Saints day and put a biblical veneer on it, saying it was to honor the dead saints and martyrs, not to celebrate ghosts haunting the earth. While many countries celebrate All-Saints day, most have their own unique spin on the traditions.
Americans have transformed the holiday into a uniquely American event, and it is quite a big deal here. Pretty much every child in the country dresses up in a costume, as do most adults. People come up with some great costumes, and the costumes alone are half the fun. It is the custom for children go from door to door begging for candy from neighbors in the early evening shortly after sundown. Then after the kids go to bed, there are Halloween parties for adults.”
Here is a picture of my husband dressed in a tourist costume:
We want to hear from our international readers! Does your country celebrate Halloween/All Saint’s Day? What are your traditions? It is so fun to learn about other cultures!
Wishing all of you and safe and happy Halloween!!!!
Christi Grab is Parentella’s Editorial Director and author of The Unexpected Circumnavigation: Unusual Boat, Unusual People Part 1 – San Diego to Australia. She is currently working on book two of the series.