It’s that time of year when people all over the world dress up in scary costumes and creep around for tricks or treats. Join us and let your fangs into five of the wildest Halloween traditions around the world.
“So boys and girls of every age
Wouldn’t you like to see something strange?
Don’t look away from the screen
Cause it’s time for Halloween!”
Beans of the dead – Italy
The Halloween festivals begin on October 31st and go through November 2nd to include the Italian “All Souls Day”.
Italy has the finest Halloween hype with places like Corinaldo. It’s a medieval town that is known as the Italian Capital of Halloween and features spooky attractions as well as a festival of fire, lights and music.
You can also visit the Capuchin Crypt in Palermo which is decorated with 4,000 skeletons’ worth of bones. It is a bone-chilling scene for anyone who wants to enjoy a scary Italian Halloween.
Yet the “fave dei morti” or beans of the dead have the spookiest story. Those delicious fava bean-shaped sugar cookies are eaten during the Italian “Day of the Dead” due to the ancient belief that souls of the dead settled in fava beans. This opens a gate between the worlds of the living and the dead.It’s a little odd to eat a cookie for a chitty chat with the dead, but it’s quite a delicious way to do it 😋
“Jack-o-lanterns” – Ireland
Many Halloween traditions are Irish as Halloween originated in Ireland. These include the Celtic festival of Samhain. It was a day when the portal between the world of the living and the world of the dead was at its weakest and the spirits were stuck between the two worlds.
Irish immigrants exported Halloween festivals abroad. The “Jake-o-lantern” is the most significant Irish Halloween tradition. An Irish legend claims that a deceiving man called “Jake” managed to trick the devil himself. When Jack died, neither heaven nor hell welcomed him. The devil gave Jack’s lost soul only one little spark in a scooped carrot with which he had to move through the complete darkness as he got stuck between the lands of the living and dead for eternity.
So, the Irish used carrots for their first lanterns. On arriving in America, they found lots of pumpkins which are much better for making the lanterns. Thus, the current “Jack-o-lanterns” are made out of pumpkins with lights inside
Keep your knives away – Germany
The “Allerheiligentag” or “All Saints’ Day” in Germany is celebrated on October 31. Going along with the belief that dead relatives visit their families on Halloween, Germans hide all the knives in their homes to make sure the ghosts don’t hurt themselves.
A scarier version of the story claims that dead relatives are holding a grudge and would use the knives against the living if presented with the chance.
Empty Chairs – Czech Republic
Halloween in the Czech Republic is a little bit different from the usual known festivals. People there neither put on costumes nor go trick and treating. The 2nd of November is called the “Commemoration of All the Departed”. Czechs celebrate the memory of deceased relatives on that day. They visit their relatives’ graveyards and decorate the graves by bringing flowers and lighting candles in their memory. Czechs will traditionally gather around the fireplace on the evening of November the 2nd and set an empty chair for each dead relative believing that the dead relative will be spending that evening with his family on that particular chair. It’s quite a sentimental Halloween!
Finding true love – Scotland
Scottish Halloween around the 1800s was quite the holiday for single people. They traditionally peeled an apple around Halloween. The peel must be kept as one long strip. Then they used to toss the peel over their shoulder. If the peel landed in the shape of a letter, it would be the initial of the future spouse.
Another Halloween tradition for single ladies was to stare at a glass mirror in a dark room and they would see the face of their future husband.
Current Halloween candy treats might be related to the Scottish myth claiming that if a woman ate a dessert of sugary walnuts and hazelnuts before going to sleep on Halloween, she would dream of…. Well I think you guessed it, her future husband of course.
Halloween in Scotland was like having Tinder in the 1800s!
You must log in to post a comment.