Halloween: World Traditions

936002_646599535370817_1229389718_nBlack cats, pumpkins, spiders… These Halloween icons are all pretty well known to Canadians, but when you look a bit further into Halloween history, you quickly realize that these are not necessarily common to other countries. Are you as curious as we are? Here’s what we found:

In China
The Chinese typically put food and water in front of pictures of loved ones on Halloween day to accommodate and feed their spiritual hunger.

In Germany
Germans put knives away to avoid hurting the spirits that are returning on that day

In Russia
Many Russians believe blue cats bring luck in Russia: one would see a Russian Blue, British Blue, or Burmese on that day and be lucky all year round!

In Spain
The Spanish get a special pastry called Bones of the Holy on Halloween day, which is shared with close ones.

In Nigeria
The Odo Festival is celebrated on that day to welcome the spirits who are returning to earth. Nigerians believe that they remain on earth for over six months. Their departure is quite emotional for Nigerians, as the spirits don’t return for two years.

In Estonia
It is believed that people who enter churches on Halloween day will find the benches filled with ghosts kneeling before a ghost priest at the altar.

In Hong Kong
Pictures of fruit or money are burnt during Halloween. It is believed that by doing so, one reaches the spirit world and comforts ghosts.

In Austria
Austrians leave bread, water and a lit lamp on the kitchen table on Halloween night to welcome the spirits of the dead on earth.

In Czechoslovakia
Chairs are placed beside the fireplace for the day – one for each living member of the family, and one for each spirit member of the family.

In France
Halloween is actually not celebrated in France – people believe the day is too Americanized to be celebrated.

In Sweden
The Friday before the Day of the Saints, Swedish universities open only for half of the day and schools are closed.

On behalf of the Shaw Direct team, whether yours will be traditional Canadian or a little bit of everything, have a very happy Halloween!

*Marie Michelle P.