Different cultures have a tendency to celebrate holidays in different ways, and Halloween is no exception.
While the most common customs in America involve house decorations, pumpkin carving, dressing up, and trick-or-treating on Halloween night, throughout the world these traditions are anything but common.
“I’m going clown hunting,” says Salt Lake Community College student Kyle Koch, in reference to the recent uptick in strange clown sightings. But even this modern “tradition” has barely spread past the borders of the internet, let alone into the world at large.
For example, Halloween in Hong Kong is known as “Yue Lan,” or the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts, where it is believed the souls of the dead roam the earth for the day. Some people in Hong Kong take this time to burn pictures of fruit and money believing that it will bring comfort to the ghosts that are roaming the world.
Japan does not celebrate a “western-style” Halloween, with no costumes, pumpkins or trick-or-treating. The Japanese instead hold the Obon Festival, where special foods are prepared and red lanterns are hung everywhere in remembrance of their ancestors. Lanterns are also lit and set afloat in a stunning display that attracts as many tourists as it does celebrants.
Belgium and America are alike in the fact that they also believe that crossing paths with a black cat is unlucky, and brings misfortune. Belgians also celebrate Halloween by lighting candles on Halloween night, in remembrance of their dead relatives. Germans, however, hide their knives on Halloween night, seeking not to remember their relatives but to avoid being gruesomely murdered by them.
America’s oldest ally, France, does not celebrate Halloween to honor the dead at all; In fact their traditions only stretch back to the 1980’s, when trendy and affluent French began to copy Americans by dressing up, carving pumpkins, and giving out candy.
Whatever your traditions are, don’t forget to stay safe and have fun: That’s the SLCC tradition.