My Halloween traditions look something like drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte while getting ready for an epic costume party. I spend the entire month before the holiday putting up decorations, shopping for the perfect costume, and taking trips to the pumpkin patch with my favorite people. Some people celebrate Halloween very differently than I do, as I learned when I researched photos of Halloween and celebrations throughout the world.
The traditions behind Halloween date back to the pagan festivals of Samhain, which some people still celebrate today. Though many places have adopted the modern ideals of Halloween, others have their own festivals honoring the spirits of the deceased. Not all of these celebrations happen at the same time of the year, and there are some places in the world that don't recognize any sort of Halloween-like holiday.
Here are some pictures of Halloween and amazing celebrations across the globe. You may have witnessed or taken part in some of these rituals without even knowing it, as modern Halloween has borrowed from many different traditions. At the very least, now you can appreciate the complexity of this holiday, as it is so much more than a day for dressing up and eating candy.
1. Dia De Los Muertos -- Mexico
El Día de los Muertos (1 y 2 de noviembre) en México, los muertos son honrados con celebraciones vibrantes. pic.twitter.com/JMl6YkexEt — donde quiero ir (@dondequieroir1) August 29, 2017
Dia de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead," pays tribute to the spirits of family members and friends who have passed away. Day of the Dead actually stretches over three days, and the festivities start on the night of Oct. 31. Living family members will typically set up an altar in their house to celebrate loved ones who have passed on, and surround it with beautiful flowers, candy skulls, and pictures.
2. Samhain Fire Festival -- Ireland
The #Samhain fire festival on Tlachtga (Hill of Ward) #Meath #Ireland https://t.co/kaeNh9jSYM #Halloween pic.twitter.com/WsOwUJiQqq — Abarta Heritage (@AbartaGuides) October 31, 2013
The festival of Samhain is an old Celtic holiday. It represents summer coming to a close, and was often celebrated with large bonfires. During this time, the link between the earthly world and the spirit world was weak, so spirits could walk the Earth once more.
3. Halloween In Austria
Austrian soul cake...Time to honor #halloweenVegan Allerheiligen Striezel Rezept + Brauchtum + Geschichte am Blog #austria #vegan #soul pic.twitter.com/FwPdutsGkU — Dein Homespa (@Dein_Homespa) October 31, 2016
In Austria, Halloween is seen as a somber celebration of family and the harvest. Many areas of the country are famous for their annual pumpkin harvest, which is the focal point of a family feast. Many leave water, bread, and candles out at night to help the souls of their loved ones return to Earth for the evening.
4. Celebrating In France
Souvenez-vous lundi dernier... À cet instant... Nous nous apprêtions à vivre tous ensemble le plus grand Halloween de France...#HF2016 pic.twitter.com/0EV16JKGGQ — Soirée Feriaud (@SoireeFeriaud) November 7, 2016
There's no celebration or festival honoring the dead in France around Halloween time. Nevertheless, the French are game for letting the good times roll at the end of October, and it's basically a giant party. People who do involve themselves in the celebrating buy costumes and head on over to bars and parties.
5. Obon Festival -- Japan
Today's the 1st day of #Obon, Japanese festival of the Dead. To honor the day, a ghost story in poem form: https://t.co/gIkmkeA8Sa pic.twitter.com/qSoWloxzwq — Elaine Cunningham (@e_cunningham) September 4, 2017
In August, Japan's Buddhist community honors their deceased loved ones in a three-day festival. During these days, the spirits of ancestors pay a visit to their living relatives on Earth. Specific customs are different depending on region, but floating lanterns are a common tradition that help spirits return to their realm.
6. Alla Helgons Dag -- Sweden
On a dark, dreary & cold November day,graveyards become the most important & beautiful #publicspaces in Sweden.#allahelgonsdag#AllSaintsDaypic.twitter.com/0E1p5xgjyV — Mitchell Reardon (@MitchellReardon) November 6, 2016
"Alla Helgons Dag" lasts for an entire week, beginning on Oct. 31, and ending on Nov. 6. Kids get the Friday before All Saint's Day off from school, and the holiday is as much a vacation as it is a celebration. The spirits of the deceased are commemorated with food and lights.
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.