The leaves have turned red, the air is crisp and people have placed carved pumpkins in their windows – which can only mean one thing – Halloween is around the corner!
Although the spooky holiday is often associated with America, many countries around the world have their own rituals and customs.
Here are some of the most sinister traditions from around the world…
DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS – MEXICO
November 1st & 2nd is when people in Mexico celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) to honour the dead throughout the country and across parts of Latin America. Apparently, the gates of Heaven open at midnight on October 31, and the souls of the children return to Earth to be reunited with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the souls of the adults come down to join their families.
GREENWICH VILLAGE HALLOWEEN PARADE, NEW YORK
No one does Halloween quite like America! Some consider it as big as Christmas, and the Halloween preparations often last for the whole month of October. One of the spookiest events to celebrate the holiday, is the famous Greenwich Village Parade in New York, which draws thousands of people wearing weird and wonderful costumes.
KAWASAKI HALLOWEEN PARADE – JAPAN
In Japan, almost 4,000 costumed Halloween enthusiasts from all around the world come to gather just outside Tokyo in Kawasaki for the Kawasaki Halloween Parade. However, the parade has strict guidelines and standards, meaning guests who wish to join in with the festivities must apply for entry two months before the parade. The city also holds a Kawaski Halloween Children’s parade, for those under six-years-old.
FESTIVAL OF HUNGRY GHOSTS – HONG KONG
Between mid-August to mid-September, the people of Hong Kong celebrate the Festival of Hungry Ghosts. Once the Gates of Hell are opened, it is believed that during this period, restless spirits roam around the world. Several parts of East Asia appease and “feed” their ancestors’ ghosts with food and money for the afterlife.
ZHONG YUAN JIE – SINGAPORE
It is believed that during Zhong Yuan Jie, the Gates of Hell are opened and all Hell-beings are set free to roam the Earth. In order to honour the spirits, people burn joss sticks and paper money as offerings to their ancestors. Chinese opera is also performed to “empty” audiences, or rows of chairs are left empty to show respect to ghosts. Many people avoid weddings, moving house and starting new businesses as ways to honour the spirits over this time.