With Halloween around the corner, most Western citizens are gearing up for a month of scary movies, haunted houses, tasty treats, and fun Halloween themed parties. Contrary to popular belief, though, the spirit of Halloween is celebrated all over the world, despite not always being called “Halloween” or treated as a fun holiday. There are dozens of spooky festivals held around the world that are guaranteed to remind you of your favorite creep holiday. Here are a few.
Banks of the Foyle Carnival
In Derry, Ireland, the tradition of Halloween is live and well with the Banks of Foyle Carnival. The festival takes place between October 25th and 29th. During the day, the festival hosts a haunted house and during the evening there’s a twilight lit haunted tour of Derry. The carnival is family-friendly, hosting magic shows, face painting, and storytelling. Other highlights include the A-Scarium Aquarium, Halloween movies, and a variety of kid-friendly art workshops.
The main attraction, however, is the parade. Parade goers are invited to get dressed up and gather in the streets to enjoy the parade’s music, sights, and spectacular entertainment.
Hungry Ghost Festival
The Hungry Ghost Festival of Hong Kong is a sight to behold. This month long festival pays homage to souls that have passed on by offering and showering them with gifts such as money, jewelry, and food. Legend has it that if the spirits are ignored or unhappy, they will cause mischief.
The Chiu Chow community holds a variety of rituals and a three day ceremony. Neighborhoods across the city burn incense and place their offerings on the sidewalk and streets.
Hop Tu Naa
The Isle of Man is known for a variety of unique factors such as four-horned sheep and tailless manx cats. However, it’s also known for its unique take on Halloween. Hop Tu Naa is a celebration exclusive to the Isle of Man. During the celebration, locals sing traditional songs about Jinny the Witch and cattle-killing, carve lanterns from turnips, bake Dumbo Cake (which is then eaten in silence), tell stories and dance. There is also a parade that serves as the highlight for the celebration.
To celebrate Halloween in El Salvador, locals like to dress up in costumes that relate to spooky urban legends. These legends include those of La Llorona (the weeping woman searching for her child), La Siguanaba, (a beautiful woman cursed for abandoning her child), and El Cadejo (a devil dog). The festival kicks off on November 1st and consists of scary costumes, torches, painted carts, chanting, and cooking pumpkin and honey in the city square. The day after the ceremony, local families place flower wreaths on their loved ones graves to allow the deceased to have a picnic with the living.
The paranormal is celebrated each year in Boston, Massachusetts with the Haunted Happenings event. Taking place in September and October, the event includes entertainment such as ghost stories, seances, movies, plays, night-time walks through the graveyard, haunted houses, tours, parades, and magic circles, a witches ball, and a Festival of the Dead held by local witches. Included in the fun is also a Dump Supper, which is eaten in silence to honor the dead and gone.