October Takeover: Halloween Traditions

~posted by Selby

Tonight is THE night for the dead to crawl out of the underworld and roam the streets. Where are the best places to celebrate both in the US and around the world?

In the USA

Find The Moon Guide to New York State in the SPL catalog
Sleepy Hollow, New York. As home of Washington Irving’s chilling tale about a headless horseman who terrorizes a school teacher, Sleepy Hollow takes its creepy reputation very seriously. A month of festivities include 7,000 hand carved jack –o-lanterns, cemetery tours, and dramatic retellings of the famous story.

Find The Insight Guide to New England in the SPL catalog
Salem, Massachusetts. Notorious as the home of the ghastly witch trials in the early 1690’s, Salem now celebrates all things witchy, and Halloween is the biggest bash of the year. Events include a grand parade, haunted houses, street fair, ghost tours and a costume ball.

 

Find The DK Guide to New Orleans in the SPL catalog
New Orleans, Louisiana. The Big Easy is notorious for throwing great parties and the city definitely has a darker side. Halloween in New Orleans is celebrated with typical enthusiasm with haunted houses, trips to the voodoo shop, street parties, live music and haunted cemetery tours.

 

Outside of the US

Find The National Geographic Guide to Ireland in the SPL catalog
Derry, Ireland. Halloween has its origin in Samhain, which was a pagan festival celebrated in Ireland to mark the end of summer. Over the years the dates and type of celebrations have changed, but Derry in Ireland still hosts the biggest Halloween celebration in all of Europe.

 

Find The Insight Guide to Scotland in the SPL catalogEdinburgh, Scotland. Edinburgh is said to be the most haunted city in Europe, so it’s no wonder that the living inhabitants of the city go all out for this ancient night of the dead. Ghost tours are always popular but don’t miss the Halloween parade. Fire eaters flanked by grotesque oversized puppets and all array of otherworldly creatures make their way from the castle down the royal mile once darkness descends.

Other celebrations of the dead

Find The Lonely Planet Guide to Mexico in the SPL catalog
Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in Mexico venerates the deceased on November 1st. Families gather to clean and decorate the graves of relatives and share a candle-lit meal with them. Special foods are consumed, including many sweets.

 

Find The Lonely Planet Guide to Bolivia in the SPL catalog
Dia de los Natitas, or Day of the Skulls, in Bolivia is celebrated on November 9th. On that day Bolivians bring skulls  to the church to be blessed, which they believe will give them good luck. Incidentally, the skulls must be from strangers or very distant relatives. No taking grandma.

Find The Bradt Guide to Haiti in the SPL catalog

 

Ghede in Haiti is celebrated on November 2nd. Followers of Vodun (or Voodoo) celebrate by donning festive attire, cleaning the graves of their ancestors, and generally having a merry time.

 

Find The DK Guide to India in the SPL catalog
Pitru Paksha in India is 15 day period where Hindus honor their ancestors with food offerings and other activities. The specific days are based on the lunar cycle, so this year the holiday took place from September 27 to October 12.

 

Many cities around the world now have some form of Halloween celebration. Whether you like being scared out of your wits, or just having a good time, tonight is a great night to get out and do something fun. What are your plans?

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