Jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkin spice lattes, fall leaves, and the aroma of cinnamon filling the air. The signs are clear: Halloween is here!
Despite its ancient Irish roots and current American popularity, the holiday is also celebrated in several other parts of the world. While in one place it’s celebrated with bags of candy, spooky decorations, carved pumpkins, and trick-or-treating, other countries celebrate with buffalo racing, partying in cemeteries, and lighting lanterns.
Regardless, the significance is the same: to remember the dead. If you’re in the mood for a spooky Halloween, make a trip to one of these destinations to take part in the revelry.
1. The United Kingdom
After the United States, Halloween is celebrated the most in the UK. They follow a similar tradition of tricks-or-treats, carving pumpkins, decorating homes, and dressing up in scary costumes. Halloween is believed to have its roots in Ireland and even today the country witnesses some of the biggest celebrations. In addition to the customary practices, the occasion is welcomed with traditional foods like barmbrack (an Irish fruitcake stuffed with rings, buttons, coins, and other symbolic objects), party games, bonfires, and beer. Interestingly, fortune-telling is also a significant part of the Halloween tradition in Ireland.
Although primarily a Buddhist country, Thailand loves Halloween. The Thais have their own distinct ways of celebrating the festival. Several venues in and around the country, especially in Bangkok, host Halloween themed events which include scary decorations, mysterious music, and food and candy for the kids. It is common to find the locals dressed up for Halloween parties and other events.
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3. The UAE
The UAE is catching pace with this Western tradition and celebrates Halloween with extravagant costumes, candy, lavish decorations, and parties. Popular venues at beaches, malls, and hotels host Halloween carnivals, while kids dress up for the festival and go trick-or-treating in and around their homes. There are plenty of Halloween-themed parties in Dubai, in particular, so it may be worthwhile to join in the festive traditions.
4. The Philippines
Predominantly a Catholic nation, the Philippines celebrates Halloween with a lot of enthusiasm. A practice Filipinos follow every year is to go to the cemetery, set up camp, and spend the day/night there. Other traditions include offering food to the dead (atang), where meals are ritually served to the deceased. Many people place lit candles in front of their homes; the light is believed to help the dead travel to the afterlife. Then there’s the Filipino version of trick-or-treating (pangangaluluwa), where people go from door to door and sing in exchange for gifts or small cash.
Known as the home of the infamous Dracula, the country’s ancient traditions include covering the arches of doors and windows with smashed garlic to prevent ghosts from entering, scattering breadcrumbs in the garden for the spirits to eat, and keeping lit candles in and around the house. Glasses and mugs are inverted in the belief that spirits can’t hide in them! Even though these are age old practices, some of these traditions are quite common in modern Romania even today.
The Halloween trend is catching on in Australia. However, it’s less about following traditions and more about finding a reason to celebrate. More and more families are indulging in trick-or-treat and decorating their homes with Halloween themed decor. If you really want to participate in a bash, head out to the many gardens, parks, and restaurants that organise themed events. There are carnivals, party cruises, and scary movie marathons around the Halloween theme for people to indulge in. Although Aussies don’t follow the traditions strictly, they do intend to have fun.
So, whether you’re in Australia, Ireland, Thailand, or elsewhere, dress up in your ghoulish best and prepare for a crazy fun night out!