by Chris Karenbauer
We know Halloween by eating candy while dressed up in silly costumes. Halloween is a mostly American holiday, but other countries around the world have their own fall holidays.
Halloween in Ireland is a time to remember the dead. The Irish celebration is similar to the American celebration with children dressing up in costumes and eating candy.
During the Middle Ages, Halloween was the eve of All Saints Day, which is the day to remember the saints.
There is a legend that jack-o’-lanterns began in Ireland. In the 19th century, people hollowed out turnips and made them into lanterns. They carved out grotesque faces to repel evil spirits.
In France, Halloween is viewed as an American holiday. Halloween has recently been celebrated. And even then, not many people celebrate it.
Like many European countries, France does celebrate All Saints Day on November 1. It’s the Catholic holiday that remembers the dead.
Another holiday France celebrates is Carnival Day in February. During this holiday, children dress up in costumes and walk around the neighborhood to collect doughnut-like treats.
In the Scandinavian countries, Halloween is just beginning to pick up. Only in the last few years have people begun to adopt the American traditions of dressing up and trick-or-treating. According to Laurie Kjernald, a preacher’s wife in Norway, Scandinavians have adopted the bloody and gory parts of Halloween.
There are two popular holidays or festivals celebrated in Scandinavia: All Saints Day and the Harvest Festival. All Saints Day is celebrated throughout Europe. It’s a day to remember the dead. the Scandinavians will bring wreaths and candles to their dead loved ones’ graves.
The Harvest Festival is usually in the middle of October. In Sweden, it’s in November. It marks the beginning of the winter season. This is a time to celebrate the harvest from that year. Children dress up in fun costumes. People attend fairs and go to farmers’ markets.
In Ukraine, they celebrate the Harvest Celebration. Katrina Wiebe, a senior Cedarville student and a missionary kid in Ukraine, said that there is no specific date, but it occurs sometime between September and October. It is a Christian celebration that focuses on worshiping God.
Wiebe compares the Harvest Celebration to our American Thanksgiving. It is a time of giving thanks where the church hosts something like a fall gathering. There are hayrides and lots of food. Wiebe’s church has the typical fall decorations like pumpkins and gourds. They also have a service of thanksgiving.
Although Halloween is not celebrated in Latin America, El Día de los Muertos or The Day of the Dead is a famous holiday. It begins on October 31 and ends on November 2.
Day of the Dead is a time to remember deceased loved ones. People will go to their loved ones’ graves and celebrate their memory. They’ll bring their loved ones’ favorite meals as an offering.
In India, an important Hindu festival is Dussehra. Dussehra honors the victory of good over evil. According to Hindu mythology, the demon Mahishasura, a buffalo, desired to do evil in the world. The gods realized that only a woman could defeat Mahishasura. So, they created the goddess Rama. They gave her several gifts to help her defeat the demon. Rama defeated Mahishasura after nine days of fighting.
Today, the Hindu people celebrate this defeat on October 25. According to Kezia Augustine, a Cedarville international student from India, the Hindu people celebrate Dussehra through reenactments of Rama’s victory. They celebrate with lots of lights and colors and set off fireworks.
Chris Karenbauer is a sophomore Journalism major and a writer for Cedars. She loves writing, traveling and reading. Her favorite book series is Harry Potter and favorite movies are the original Star Wars trilogy.