Articles for the Month of November 2021

Halloween Across Cultures

October 31, 2021


How did you celebrate Halloween, Samhain, All Saints/Souls Day, Harvest time?

Want to get to know another culture without travelling?
Attend a cultural event right in your home city. People love to share their traditions and you can learn a lot. I did.

I went to the Dia De Los Muertos, Day of the Dead festival here in Cleveland, Ohio with my Mexican American friends. So, today I’ll highlight that.

Fun Fotos Follow.- taken by me.


Mexico and parts of Latin America, as well as some southwestern parts of the USA celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) to honor those who have passed away. 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 on November 1. Then on November 2, the souls of adults come down from heaven to join in the festivities.

The Aztecs developed the ritual some 3,000 years ago. During the Spanish conquest, Catholic leaders exerted their influence on the tradition and the resulting mash up created the Day of the Dead celebration.

Recognizing death as a natural part of the human experience, without mourning or sadness, Día de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities they had enjoyed in life. The dead are awakened from their eternal sleep to share these celebrations with their loved ones.

The Parade Begins Stilt People against the CLE OHIO backdrop

The most familiar symbols are calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere: in candied sweets, as parade masks, as dolls, on altars. Calacas and calaveras are portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy colorful clothes and entertaining situations.

Mariachi Band Music Horse Skeleton Rider

Día de los Muertos combines indigenous Aztec ritual with Catholicism. Temporary private altars (ofrendas) are constructed in the homes for deceased loved ones constructed in the homes for deceased loved ones.

Aztec Dance Performance Note the cross made with cempasúchil 
marigolds on the left side of this altar.

Every altar includes the four elements: water, wind, earth and fire. Water: water or alcohol in bottles. Wind: Papel picado, traditional paper banners. Earth: Food, especially bread. Fire: Candles, in the shape of a cross to represent the cardinal directions, so the spirits can find their way

. .

Pan de los Muertos (Bread of the Dead) is sometimes baked in the shape of bones, and dusted with sugar.
It’s only baked this time of year.

The cempasúchil, a type of marigold flower native to Mexico, is placed on altars and graves. The vibrant color and strong scent allow the ancestors to find their way back for this occasion.

Altar for pets too Pet Cemetery display outdoors

Monarch butterfly: These butterflies, which migrate to Mexico each fall, were believed to be the spirits of the ancestors coming to visit.


Feel free to connect and share your tradition with me? EMAIL
I’d enjoy learning about you.


Many cultures around the world celebrate similar traditions of honoring the dead, each with different rituals and times of the year.

LIST and LINKS to LEARN more:

Samhain – Ireland and Scotland  
Day of Dracula – Romania 
Kawasaki (川崎) Halloween Parade – Japan 
Pangangaluluwa – The Philippines 
The Hungry Ghost Festival – Hong Kong
Pitru Paksha (पितृ पक्ष) – India 
Dzień Saduszny All Souls Day – Poland
Awuru Odo Festival – Nigeria
Phchŭm Bĕn (ភ្ជុំបិណ្ឌ) Ancestors Day – Cambodia
Ognissanti All Saints’ Day– Italy 
Kukeri (кукери) – Bulgaria
Gai Jatra (गाई जात्रा) Cow Festival – Nepal
Tết Trung Nguyên The Ghost Festival – Vietnam
Hari Raya Galungan – Bali, Indonesia
Radonitsa (Радоница) Day of Rejoicing – Russia
Totensonntag Sunday of the Dead – Germany
La Toussaint All Saints Day – Brittany, France
Jum Il-Mejtin – Malta


Twenty Halloween-Like Traditions Around the World
Unveiling the Spirit of Halloween Cultures Around The World


Ancient Times: Halloween Begins as Samhain
10th Century: Samhain Is Christianized
The Middles Ages: Trick-or-Treating (Souling) Emerges
19th Century: Jack-o-Lanterns Take Shape
19th Century: Halloween Comes to America – And With It Comes Mischief 
1930s: Haunted Houses Become a Thing in the USA
1950s: Halloween Costumes Go Mainstream 


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