Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Pimmie . Pimmie Wonders, “Do other countries celebrate halloween?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Pimmie !
Boo! Trick or treat! These are just a couple of the words and phrases you're likely to hear over and over again on that holiday that children and adults alike look forward to every October 31. What are we talking about? Halloween, of course!
Halloween is one of the oldest holidays in the world. Its roots date back to Samhain, the ancient Gaelic harvest festival celebrated in Celtic countries, such as Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.
Over the years, Samhain became merged with the later Christian holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. This explains our modern holiday's focus on spirits and the dead.
In the United States and Canada, Halloween is one of the most commercial holidays of the year. People spend billions of dollars on candy, costumes, pumpkins, and decorations every year. But what about other parts of the world?
Halloween remains popular in the Celtic countries where Samhain got its start. For example, you'll usually find children trick-or-treating in places like Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Other European countries, such as England, France, and Germany have also seen increases in the popularity of celebrating Halloween, although the holiday is nowhere near as popular as it is in the United States and Canada.
Many other countries around the world observe holidays that celebrate departed loved ones. Although not technically the same as Halloween, they are often similar to Halloween and share common themes.
For example, Mexico, Latin America, and Spain celebrate Dia de los Muertos (the "Day of the Dead") at the beginning of November each year. People will often visit cemeteries and build altars with food and other offerings for those who have passed away.
If you find yourself in Japan during the summer, you may be able to join in a celebration of the Obon Festival. This annual event honors the spirits of your ancestors. Fires are lit each night, and red lanterns are proudly displayed and even released into rivers and the ocean.
In China, Chinese New Year celebrations conclude with a lantern festival known as Teng Chieh. Lanterns shaped like various animals are hung in the streets and near homes to ward off evil spirits. The Chinese also honor deceased family members and loved ones by placing food and water in front of their photos.
For P'chum Ben, a holiday in Cambodia, Buddhists pay respects to their deceased ancestors by making offerings of sweet sticky rice and beans wrapped in banana leaves at temples. They also gather with friends and family members to listen to music and speeches made by local monks.