Halloween in different cultures
Halloween Around the World
BY ELIZABETH WILLIAMS OCT. 31, 2014
Oct. 31 may be called Harvest Tide, Festival of Dionysus, Halloween, All Hallows Eve or even Samhain, but this day is not a global holiday.
Not all cultures celebrate Halloween the way Americans do. Germany for example, has a similar holiday.
“Germany has this holiday in April called Walpurgisnacht, or Night of Witches,” sophomore Rachel Rice said. “But it’s more like a night to go out and prank people.”
In many countries in Africa, Halloween is not celebrated at all because many may see it as a satanic or demonic holiday.
“My mom never let me celebrate halloween or dress up as a child.” junior Mohammad Giwa said. “It’s really that my mom’s afraid of devilish things and she didn’t want them to come into the house through me.”
Some countries celebrate Halloween the same way Americans do, but with a few differences.
“I lived in Poland for about two or three years,” freshman William Webster said. “The area I lived in had like normal Halloween but instead of candy they gave out like cereal and fruit.”
Unlike Poland, Australia likes to party more than to trick-or-treat.
“We didn't really trick-or-treat, but the parties were really big.” junior Andrew McKinnon said.
Aspects of the American Halloween come from many different cultures and religions.
“For pagans and Wiccans, Halloween is called Samhain,” senior Rachel Grupy said. “It normally involves bonfires, dancing, incense and lots of other cool stuff.”
Samhain is mostly what American Halloween evolved from; it was originally intended as a day to honor the dead.
“A lot of people think [Halloween] is just a day to get free candy, but it actually has a lot of substance and history too it,” Grupy said.
Catholics have a holiday the day after Halloween that helped shape American Halloween a lot.
“All Saints Day is a Catholic holiday on Nov. 1 where you have dinner and you get a lot of people,” freshman Gabe Blanco said. “It’s a pretty good party, and you celebrate everyone that has passed over into sainthood.”
Blanco was born in Columbia so he celebrates All Saints Day with a spanish influence.
“My family just basically eats a ton of spanish food with a ton of our spanish friends,” Blanco said. “I also celebrate American Halloween.”
Pagans and Catholics are not the only groups that regard Halloween with religion in mind.
“In Africa, there are a lot of people who are Muslim and Islamic,” Giwa said. “They don’t want to get into all that devil stuff.”
Some religions believe that Halloween is a day to contact the “Otherworld”.
“Wiccans believe that it is the day where the boundary between the spirit and physical world is at its weakest,” Grupy said. “So it’s the one day a year where you can get the most response from someone who has passed over.”
Halloween is celebrated in a variety of different ways and in a variety of different cultures. All of these celebrations have shaped the way America and the world see the holiday now.