Halloween Around the World

Like peanut butter, Halloween is an acquired taste, as far as holidays are concerned.

I grew up in Germany in the 1960s and I never heard of Halloween until I came to the United States in 1974. I remember finding it a strange holiday, if one can even call it a holiday.

Of course, some people say it’s one of the oldest holidays, dating back over 4,000 years.

I searched and found that now in 2014 there are ten countries in the world that “celebrate” Halloween:

  1. United States
  2. Ireland
  3. Canada
  4. England
  5. Mexico
  6. Sweden
  7. Austria
  8. Belgium
  9. Germany
  10. Netherlands

Germany is one of them. But it wasn’t one of them in 1970. It must be that in Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, the candy and costume companies thought it was a good idea to copy what the mighty United States was doing. They imported a “holiday” that generates lots of revenue for those industries – money spent where it wasn’t spent before when there was no reason for it.

Halloween, the holiday of no purpose or redeeming value.

4 thoughts on “Halloween Around the World

  1. vee1987

    I won’t deny that like a lot of other holidays, Halloween is now just a marketing and money generating holiday. But it does have an interesting pagan history.

    I’m not saying I believe in these things, but take it from a mythological standpoint, and I do like learning about old myths. So, besides the idea of Halloween being the night when the barrier between the spirit and physical worlds are thinnest, it would also be a night to celebrate the harvest. This would be a ritual about the Goddess taking form of the Crone and the God called the Horned One, the God of the Hunt, and it’s supposed to honor these gods who provide for them.It can also be seen as a sort of new years celebration as well.

    The reason for costumes, and why they were originally scary, is to confuse the demons who walked the Earth, so they wouldn’t attack people, or even to appease the spirits.

    Trick or treating has a few different origins, but it’s like the inverse of Christmas Caroling, it’s give us stuff or we’ll prank you. There was also the Christian practice of Soaling, where kids, Christian Souls, dressed up would go around singing songs and were given Soal (Soul) cakes.

    There’s also the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration, where whole families go to the cematery to clean graves and leave gifts, and remember their loved ones.

    I had always been a little curious about who celebrates Halloween, so thank you for the list. It was actually longer than I expected. I always thought it would just be North America and the UK.

  2. Mary Barnes

    You’ve left out some countries. E.g., Scotland celebrated “All Hallows Eve” centuries before it came to the United States. Look at Wikipedia’s “Geography of Halloween.” No redeeming value? The chance to dress up in outlandish garb and see all the elaborate costumes on Santa Monica Blvd. makes it a high holy day, as far as I’m concerned.

  3. trishalandoni

    Mary – I agree completely! The entertainment factor is worth waiting all year for! And the added bonus?…buying candy that YOU love – just in case there are leftovers. What better reason to have a piece …..or two….and another one. BTW – Norbert enjoys the candy too!!

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