Halloween around the world

By on November 7, 2002

Although Halloween originated centuries ago with the Celts in Ireland, the holiday is celebrated in many countries around the world. This autumn holiday is celebrated in Latin America, Mexico and Spain with a three-day celebration.
In the United Kingdom, the holiday is celebrated with an interesting spin and in Ireland, where it all started, Halloween is celebrated to its fullest extent.
In Latin America, Mexico and Spain, Halloween is celebrated as a holiday called El DIa de Los Muertos. The holiday is commemorated with a three-day celebration beginning on Oct. 31 and ending on Nov. 2. It ends on the Nov. 2 because this is an important day known as All Saints Day where we honor the dead, who supposedly return to their homes on Halloween.
The families who have lost loved ones construct an altar to the dead in their homes to honor deceased relatives. It is decorated with favorite foods, drinks of the deceased and fresh water. It also contains candy and flowers.
To help the deceased find their way home on this day, relatives of the deceased burn incense and candles to provide a scent for the deceased to follow.
The graves of the deceased are cleaned up by the family for his or her return home. After the grave is cleaned, it is decorated with flowers, wreaths or paper streamers to make it look celebratory and welcoming.
On All Souls Day, relatives of the deceased gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. These celebrations honoring departed loved ones are far reaching in time and go back as far as ancient Egyptian times.
The holiday of Halloween is not celebrated for the most part by the English. They stopped celebrating it as the Protestant Reformation began to spread across the area. They no longer believed in saints, so they had no reason to celebrate this holiday.
However, a new autumn holiday came about. The holiday is called Guy Fawkes Day, which is celebrated on Nov. 5.
The holiday festivities were designed to commemorate the execution of the notorious English traitor Guy Fawkes. On this day, bonfires are lit throughout England. Also on this night, effigies are burned and fireworks are set off.
In some parts of England, children walk the streets carrying an effigy or “guy” and ask for “a penny for the guy.” However, the children end up keeping this money for themselves.
Although Guy Fawkes Day falls around the same time as Halloween and has some similar traditions, this celebration has little to do with the holiday we celebrate in America today.
Ireland is where it all began. It was here that Halloween formed its first roots with the Celts. Just like in the United States, children get dressed up to go trick-or-treating.
In Ireland, the home Halloween, the holiday is celebrated just as much today as it was thousands of years ago.


About Erica Morrison - Staff Writer