For many of us, today is all about costume parties, trick-or-treating, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, ghouls, and more. But did you know that in other countries and cultures, Halloween has a completely different meaning?
For instance, in Mexico and other Latin American countries, October 31 is known as Día de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead. On this day, they honor their loved ones and ancestors who have passed away. This is just the first day of a three-day celebration that ends with All Souls’ Day. During this celebration, people erect altars to honor the dead, decorating them with a variety of trinkets, flowers, and food.
Halloween is also celebrated differently in Ireland and Scotland where they celebrate with a festival called Samhain. This ritual first took place thousands of years ago, making Ireland itself one of the first placed where Halloween as we know it was celebrated. To celebrate this Celtic and Pagan holiday, families throw big parties with bonfires and traditional foods once thought to help tell fortunes.
And in Italy, Halloween means something very different – or at least November 1st does. That’s because November 1st is a national holiday in Italy known as All Saints’ Day. On this day, Italy is bustling with festivals that leave the country bathed in flowers like chrysanthemums. This is a way for families to pay tribute to passed loved ones. In addition to the flowers, people will also set a place at the table for loved ones they wish will visit and leave a red candle in the window overnight to welcome them back home.
As you can see, Halloween is so much more than over-sized candy bars and spooky costumes. To many, it’s a day that commemorates lost loved ones. It’s a day of celebration – of joy and hope and rejuvenation.
Remember that as you walk your kids from house to house, or as you yourself get ready for that big Halloween bash.
The LLH Team