Halloween is one of the oldest, and most popular holidays that is celebrated. Halloween is ranked as one of the most participated holidays with 65% of Americans decorating their house or office. Christmas is the only higher holiday when it comes to participation and decorations. Since this holiday is celebrated around the world, we are going to share some traditions of Halloween in different countries.
In Ireland, where Halloween is known to have started, they celebrate much like we do in the United States. The children dress up and trick-or-treat throughout their neighborhood. After the kids are done, they usually attend a party where they play different types of games. Many games are played, including "snap-apple," a game in which an apple on a string is tied to a door frame 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.
Austrian's believe that the night of Halloween, dead souls are welcomed back to earth for the night. They leave out bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before going to bed at night.
In China, the Halloween festival is known as "Teng Chieh." They place food and water in front of the deceased photographs and lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Halloween night. The "Pretas" are the spirits who died and were not able to have their body buried properly. The purpose of this custom is twofold: as a remembrance of the dead and in order to free the spirits of the "pretas" in order that they might ascend to heaven. Monks are invited to recite sacred verses and offerings of fruit are presented.
In Germany, the people put away their knives on Halloween night. The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm befalling the returning spirits.
In Sweden, Halloween is known as "Alla Helgons Dag" and is celebrated from October 31 until November 6. As with many other holidays, "Alla Helgons Dag" has an eve which is either celebrated or becomes a shortened working day. The Friday prior to All Saint's Day is a short day for universities while school-age children are given a day of vacation.
There are many other countries listed but these were some of the most interesting ones. To view more, go visit Halloween Around the World.