Halloween Traditions Across the Globe

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Culture in something that is adapted through the origins and made to fit our ethic backgrounds. Holding the values of the things that truth that we hold dear to our hearts. Halloween, which s adapted by Samhain, is traditionally the Pagan Holiday that believed that the realms were compromised on this day. Some of those traditions that were presented in the History Channel article is “Early texts present Samhain as a mandatory celebration lasting three days and three nights where the community was required to show themselves to local kings or chieftains. Failure to participate was believed to result in punishment from the gods, usually illness or death. (https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/samhain).” In some cultures according to History.com, There was also a military aspect to Samhain in Ireland, with holiday thrones prepared for commanders of soldiers. Anyone who committed a crime or used their weapons during the celebration faced a death sentence. Some documents mention six days of drinking alcohol to excess, typically mead or beer, along with gluttonous feasts.

Early accounts record some of the folk tales that occurred during this time of year which includes Samhain monsters as well as Samhain stories and myths. “The Second Battle of Mag Tuired,” which portrays the final conflict between the Celtic pantheon known as the Tuatha de Danann and evil oppressors known as the Fomor. The myths state that the battle unfolded over the period of Samhain.One of the most famous Samhain-related stories is “The Adventures of Nera,” in which the hero Nera encounters a corpse and fairies, and enters into the Otherworld. As the website accounts. Which we will dive in and take a sneak peak of some of these traditions.

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Dia De Los Muertos or “All Souls Day” is how celebrated. History.com says that “All Souls’ Day, which takes place on November 2, is commemorated with a three-day celebration that begins on the evening of October 31. The celebration is designed to honor the dead who, it is believed, return to their earthly homes on Halloween. Many families construct an altar to the dead in their homes to honor deceased relatives and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, samples of the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks, and fresh water. Often, a wash basin and towel are left out so that the spirit can wash before indulging in the feast.” Which is a direct quote from History.com. One of the beautiful things about my origin culture as I am Brazilian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban, is that this day helps commemorate those who have left the physical world and celebrate their life. With the idealism that we will one day see our lost relatives in another life. “Coco” is the movie that shows the beauty in our culture. Where we not only partake in American tradition, as we wear mask instead of painted faces to not be recognized by “evil spirits” but we wear costumes that our dead relatives identify us with, as the added protection that we get on this day, keeps the “bad spirits” away in the idealism as those same spirits don’t lead us into the underworld.

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“Fawkes Day” is the celebration that is followed in this tradition. According to History.com On the evening of November 5, bonfires are lit throughout England. Effigies are burned and fireworks are set off. Although it falls around the same time and has some similar traditions, this celebration has little to do with Halloween or the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The English, for the most part, stopped celebrating Halloween as Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation began to spread. As followers of the new religion did not believe in saints, they had no reason to celebrate the eve of All Saints’ Day. However, a new autumn ritual did emerge. Guy Fawkes Day festivities were designed to commemorate the execution of a notorious English traitor, Guy Fawkes. Fawkes was executed after being convicted of attempting to blow up England’s parliament building. Fawkes was a member of a Catholic group who wanted to remove the Protestant King James from power. The original Guy Fawkes Day was celebrated right after his execution. The first bonfires, which were called “bone fires,” were set up to burn effigies and symbolic “bones” of the Catholic pope. It was not until two centuries later that effigies of the pope were replaced with those of Guy Fawkes. In addition to making effigies to be burned in the fires, children in some parts of England also walk the streets carrying an effigy or “guy” and ask for “a penny for the guy,” although they keep the money for themselves. This is as close to the American practice of “trick-or-treating” as can be found in England today. (https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/halloween-around-the-world). To learn more about Fawke’s Day, click on the link (https://www.history.com/news/guy-fawkes-day-a-brief-history)

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In Ireland, where Halloween originated, the day is still celebrated much as it is in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts, and all over the country, children get dressed up in costumes and spend the evening “trick-or-treating” in their neighborhoods. After trick-or-treating, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends. At the parties, many games are played, including “snap-apple,” a game in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree and players attempt to bite the hanging apple. In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts, with candy or pastries as the “treasure.” The Irish also play a card game where cards are laid face down on a table with candy or coins underneath them. When a child chooses a card, he receives whatever prize is found below it. A traditional food eaten on Halloween in Ireland is barnbrack, a kind of fruitcake that can be bought in stores or baked at home. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake that, it is said, can foretell the eater’s future. If a ring is found, it means that the person will soon be wed; a piece of straw means that a prosperous year is on its way. Children are also known to play tricks on their neighbors, such as “knock-a-dolly,” a prank in which children knock on the doors of their neighbors, but run away before the door is opened. According to History.com (https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/halloween-around-the-world).

With the wake of the pandemic, I am curious to find out the “work arounds” to stay safe and keep tradition alive.

Published by Frieda Lopez at Frieda the Writer

Frieda López is the writer for Journey of an Unraveled Road who was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. Through her professional career in Customer Relations and Retail Management, she has utilized her experience and interactions with the behavioral patterns, which was used to start her personal journey with Journey of A Unraveled Road as her debut novel. She has completed philosophy, psychology, and theology courses at San Antonio College as well as creative writing courses. Frieda López has been a lifelong writer since 2nd grade. A survivor of childhood trauma, childhood abuse, and domestic violence, she wrote this piece, which started this book as her personal journey; works from home in San Antonio, TX.

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