Halloween Traditions From Around the World
Courtesy Rudie Obias
Although most Americans spend Halloween dressing up and trick-or-treating, other countries have their own celebratory rituals. Here are a number Halloween (and Halloween-like) traditions from around the world.
SAMHAIN: IRELAND AND SCOTLAND
Ireland is considered the birthplace of modern Halloween with its origins stemming from ancient Celtic and Pagan rituals and a festival called Samhain, or Samhuinn (end of the light half of the year) that took place thousands of years ago. Today, both Ireland and Scotland celebrate Halloween with bonfires, games, and traditional foods like barmbrack, an Irish fruitcake that contains coins, buttons, and rings for fortunetelling. For example, rings mean marriage, while coins mean wealth in the upcoming year.
DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS: MEXICO
From November 1 to November 2, Mexico and parts of Latin America celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) to honor those who have passed away. It is believed that the Gates of Heaven open up at midnight on October 31 and the souls of children return to Earth to be reunited with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the souls of adults come down from heaven to join in the festivities.
The holiday is celebrated with in-home altars full of fruit, peanuts, turkey, soda, hot chocolate, water, stacks of tortillas and a special holiday bread called pan de muerto (bread of the dead), which are left as offerings for weary ghosts. For the souls of children, families leave out toys and candy, while adult souls receive cigarettes and shots of mezcal.
DAY OF DRACULA: ROMANIA
People from all around the world flock to celebrate Halloween at Vlad “The Impaler” Tepes’s purported home at Bran Castle in Transylvania, Romania. There are a number of guides and inclusive travel packages in Romania that offer tours and parties at Count Dracula’s castle for Halloween.
KAWASAKI HALLOWEEN PARADE: JAPAN
At the end of every October for the past 21 years, nearly 4000 costumed Halloween enthusiasts from all around the world have gathered in Kawasaki, just outside Tokyo, for the Kawasaki Halloween Parade, which is the biggest parade of its kind in Japan. However, not everyone can simply join in the festivities. The Kawasaki Halloween Parade has strict guidelines and standards, so you have to apply for entry two months before the parade begins.
PANGANGALULUWA: THE PHILIPPINES
Pangangaluluwa is a tradition in the Philippines where children go door to door, often in costumes, where they sing and ask for prayers for those stuck in purgatory. While the ritual have increasingly been supplanted by trick-or-treating over the years, some towns are working tirelessly to revive Pangangaluluwa as a way of keeping the tradition alive, and as a local fundraiser.
THE HUNGRY GHOST FESTIVAL: HONG KONG
On the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, which is around mid-August to mid-September, the people of Hong Kong celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival. In several parts of East Asia, people believe that spirits get restless around this time of year and begin to roam the world. The festival is a way to “feed” these spirits both the food and money they need for the afterlife. It’s part of a larger month-long celebration that also features burning paper and food offerings.
PITRU PAKSHA: INDIA
For 16 days during the second Paksha of the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapada, many people in India celebrate Pitru Paksha. In the Hindu religion it is believed that when a person dies, Yama — the Hindu god of death — takes his or her soul to purgatory, where they’ll find their last three generations of a family. During Pitru Paksha, the souls are briefly allowed to return to Earth and be with their families.
In order to ensure their family’s place in the afterlife, one must perform the ritual of Shraddha, which includes a fire ritual. If Shraddha isn’t performed, the soul will wanderthe Earth for eternity. During Pitru Paksha, families offer the dead food, such as kheer (sweet rice and milk), lapsi (a sweet porridge), rice, lentils, spring beans, and pumpkins, which are cooked in silver or copper pots and served on banana leaves.
DZIEŃ ZADUSZNY: POLAND
In early November, people across Poland travel to cemeteries to visit the graves of their family members (Dzień Zaduszny is like the equivalent of All Souls’ Day for Catholics in the country). The holiday is celebrated with candles, flowers, and an offering of prayers for departed relatives. On the second day, people attend a requiem mass for the souls of the dead.
AWURU ODO FESTIVAL: NIGERIA
The Awuru Odo Festival marks the return of dearly departed friends and family members back to the living. Lasting up to six months, the holiday is celebrated with feasts, music, and masks before the dead return to the spirit world. Although the Odo Festival is an important ritual, it happens once every two years, when it is believed the spirits will return to Earth.
All Saints’ Day, November 1, is a national holiday in Italy. Better known as Ognissanti, the festivities usually begin a couple of days before, when people begin leaving fresh flowers — generally chrysanthemums — on the graves of departed loved ones, as well as complete strangers, turning the country’s cemeteries into a beautiful display of colors. Italians also pay tribute to the departed by putting a red candle in the window at sunset and set a place at the table for those spirits they hope will pay a visit.
ALL SAINTS’ DAY: WORLDWIDE
On November 1, many Catholics around the world celebrate All Saints’ Day, followed by All Souls’ Day on November 2. It’s an annual time to honor the lives of the saints who died for their Catholic beliefs, as well as the souls of dead family members. In observance of the holiday, people go to mass and visit the graves of their loved ones.
While the event is celebrated worldwide, Germany has its own tradition: many hide their kitchen knives, so that returning spirits won’t be accidentally harmed (or use the same knives to harm the living).
3RD STREET ASYLUM: Kansas, USA
As its name suggests, 3rd Street Asylum was once an asylum, and originally constructed in 1918. Soon the asylum was housing some of the most dangerous and violent patients in the entire Midwest. Cited for inhumane living conditions and treatment methods, the 3rd Street Asylum permanently closed in 1983, however, the building comes to life again every Halloween as a haunted house to terrorize visitors.
The US Premiere of “Babylon Berlin” is Unveiled in Los Angeles
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Sister City partnership of Berlin and Los Angeles, the upcoming TV series Babylon Berlin recently had its US premiere in Los Angeles at the iconic Theatre at Ace Hotel. The big budgeted ($45 million) 16 episodes Netflix series, will be available for viewership in 2017 & 2018. Directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Cloud Atlas, Hologram for a King), with other episodes directed by Henk Handloegten and Achim von Borri, the series is based on the mystery novels of Volker Kutscher that take place in the decadent underworld of Berlin in the 1920s. In the film, wide-eyed Colognian commissioner, Gereon Rath, moves to Berlin, the epicenter of political and social changes in the Golden Twenties, to investigate a porno ring, and gets caught up in a world of drugs, sex, political intrigue and murder. In writing the novels, Kutscher said he was inspired by the HBO series, The Sopranos and the writings of Raymond Chandler. Tykwer used the plot of Kutscher’s novels “as a jumping-off point” to explore the world of 1920s Berlin.
The gala US premiere featured red carpet appearances with the mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller; director Tykwer and major cast members, Volker Bruch and Liv Lisa Fries. Following the screening, there was a wine reception inside the theater, Babylon Berlin photo booth along with dancing to music provided by DJ Gabriel Mounsey.
2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2018 class have been revealed, and the list spans multiple genres of music including rock, rap, metal, jazz, R&B, punk, progressive rock, and funk.
The beloved alt-rock band Radiohead joins other first-time nominees including late jazz icon Nina Simone, British heavy-metal group Judas Priest, English singer-songwriter Kate Bush and progressive-rock pioneers The Moody Blues.
Dire Straits, Depeche Mode, The Zombies, The Cars, MC5 and J. Geils Band are all in the running once again after receiving nominations last year, while Bon Jovi is back in the ring after receiving its first and only nod in 2011.
To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to the year of induction which means the 2018 nominees had to release their first official recording no later than 1992.
Fans can vote for their favorites at RockHall.com. The top five artists chosen by the public will make up a “fans’ ballot” that will be included with the other ballots. The final inductees will be announced in December, determined by a voting body of more than 900 artists, music historians, and music industry insiders.
99 Best Destinations for Graffiti and Street-Art
Exploring cities through their graffiti and street-art is the new travel trend. And best of all, it’s totally free to walk around the city and enjoy the amazing art on the walls!
At Bombing Science, we wanted to get a sense of what was going on with graffiti this summer and what better way to do that than to explore where people were using the #graffiti hashtag around the world. The world is popping full of colours and artists are making their mark in an expanding list of cities. Rather than pick cities at random, we pulled Instagram data over the summer to deliver to you the Top 99 instagrammable cities for graffiti as brought to you by instagrammers from around the world. It truly is a global experience not to be missed!
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