by Steven Doyle
Halloween is fast upon us and soon chic costume parties and special potions will be abound. Children laughing as they bounce from home to home searching for the perfect treats will literally lift our spirits as we celebrate this fun holiday.
Today we look at a few countries from around the globe to see how they celebrate their version of Halloween.
The Chinese celebrate the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts, or Yue Lan. Rather than trying to hide from and disguise themselves in order to ward off evil spirits, the Chinese give them gifts in order to give them enough comfort to retreat.
Halloween, or Samhain Night, is popular in Ireland. The Irish will light bonfires, just as ancient Samhain festivals would. Observers will decorate houses with turnips, candles, and carved pumpkins. Emergency services see their busiest day of the year on Halloween, as many youths are up to mischief and many celebrate with fireworks although they are banned.
The Scottish take pride in their Halloween festivals, lighting bonfires according to their Samhain roots. Some may observe divination rituals. A popular ritual is dooking, where a person must be blindfolded before attempting to eat a piece of pastry hanging from a string.
Japan celebrates the Bon Festival, a Buddhist holiday that honors the deceased, especially the ancestors of the observer. This is commemorated with outdoor festivals, grave visits, and grave cleaning. They will light lanterns to flow down bodies of water, symbolic of the spirits returning to the underworld.
Romanians celebrate the story of “Dracula” on Halloween. They believed that he came to haunt the towns form time to time, staying in the area because he was attracted to the environment where many witch trials took place.