6 Countries You Didn’t Know Celebrate Halloween

While Halloween as we know it is predominately celebrated in the US and Canada, many other cultures around the world also celebrate Halloween. As a result, it shouldn’t be surprising that all of our Halloween traditions are adapted or borrowed from other countries. In fact, many of these traditions derive from celebrations that honor the dead. Thus, Halloween today has evolved from a mix of these rich customs and traditions. If you are looking for more information, find a full list of all the Halloween traditions around the world from the original article here.



Believe it or not, Ireland is actually the birthplace of Halloween. It all began with the Ancient Celtic Festival, Samhain, that signified the end of the harvest. It was believed that on this day, the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped. Acknowledging this, children and adults alike dressed up as witches, goblins and ghosts to confuse the spirits lurking about. Additionally, children would go out trick or treating.People also carved turnips to prevent unwanted spirits from entering their homes. (However, pumpkins were later adopted in North America because they are softer, larger and easier to carve.) Afterwards, all would gather for a bonfire to ward off spirits and play games such as bobbing for apples. Today, the festivities hold strong in Ireland. Each year over 30,000 gather to attend the world’s largest Halloween Festival in Derry where festivities include a bonfire, parade, fireworks and of course, bobbing for apples.



Transylvania brings to mind spooky images of vampires, wear wolves and dark menacing castles. This makes sense because the infamous Bran Castle, where Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula lived. This menacing castle set among the rocky hills with a dark past provided the perfect setting for Bram Stoker’s famous book Dracula. After Hollywood popularized Transylvania in the movie in the 1940’s, it became notorious for vampires, werwolves and other creatures that go bump in the night. As a result, Halloween enthusiasts from around the world flock to Romania each year during this time. The biggest party takes place in Sighisoara, the citadel where Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) was born. Thus, it goes without saying that celebrating Halloween in Transylvania was listed by Fodor’s Travel Guide as a “Top Ten Must Do Adventures”.



In Mexico and other Latin American countries, they celebrate Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. This includes constructing alters with their ancestors favorite foods and drinks, clean up and decorate the graves. Skeletons and skulls are a popular motif and can be found in bread, candy and other foods. At the end of the celebration, candles and incense are lit to guide the deceased back to the afterlife.


4). England & New Zealand

On November 5th, people in England and New Zealand celebrate Guy Fawkes Night to commemorate the execution of the English traitor Guy Fawkes. Guy Fawkes Night aka Mischief Night is celebrated with fireworks, a bonfire and a ceremonial effigy burning of Guy Fawkes.



In China they celebrate The Hungry Ghost Festival. Similar to Day of the Dead in Mexico, on this day it is believed that gates of hell are opened and spirits come back to earth. Tradition holds that if the ghosts are happy in the afterlife, good fortune will come to the living. As a result, offerings of water and food are placed in front of pictures of dead relative to please them. At the end of the celebration, they light a lanterns to guide the spirits back to the afterlife.



Lastly, in the Philippines Halloween is referred to as Undas, or All Saints Day. On October 31- November 2nd Filipinos honor the dead with candles, flowers, prayers and visits to the cemetery. Oftentimes, it ends up resembling a family reunion as they gather to eat, drink and tell stories about their departed loved ones. Even more, entire families  camp in cemeteries and some even spend the night near their relatives’ tombs. Moving on, the origin of trick or treating stems from the Philippines as well. Derived from the tradition of Pangangaluluwà, children would dress in white sheets and go door to door singing and saying prayers for the dead. In return for their efforts, children are given soul cakes. Filipinos believe that when these cakes are eaten, a soul is set free from purgatory. Sadly, this rich tradition is being pushed out by an Americanized Halloween and trick or treating.


Bam! So thats the roundup of Halloween celebrations and their traditions around the world. While some of these customs may seem strange, the source of our present day Halloween traditions are apparent. If you want more, be sure to check out the full article, Halloween Traditions and Celebrations Around the World, on pumpkinpatchesandmore.org. Happy Halloween!