The Best Fall Celebrations Around the World3 min read
Halloween is one of the most fun holidays here in the United States. But many people may not realize there are many different countries that celebrate Halloween and other holidays around the fall season. While we may not be able to visit these countries this year, why not add a little bit of intentional flare to your fall festivities at home? Here are some of the best places in the world to experience a late-October holiday.
America’s next-door neighbors are famous for their three-day celebration known as “El Día de los Muertos.” The “Day of the Dead” is when Mexican families and descendants honor their deceased loved ones and celebrate the beauty of life. The most common ways of celebrating include decorating altars, graveside vigils, and telling ghost stories and folktales. But perhaps the most famous part of El Día de los Muertos is the sugar skulls, colorfully decorated clay skulls worn to represent departed souls.
As opposed to the silliness of Halloween, El Día de los Muertos is seen as a commemoration of the dead and a time for reflection. It’s best to be respectful of tradition and take time to think about your loved ones that have passed.
Italians have always celebrated All Saints Day and All Souls Day, but Halloween has recently taken center stage in the European country. Many cities go all out with decorations, costume parties, festivals, parades, spooky attractions, live music, and—of course—a ton of great, traditional Italian food. Spooky historic sights, like the catacombs in Rome and the Capuchin Crypt in Palermo, are perfect backdrops for late-October festivities.
Celebrate by channeling some of Italy’s major fall fesitvity-centric cities: Borgo a Mozzano, home of the very first Halloween festival; Triora, the City of Witches; and Corinaldo, the self- proclaimed Italian Capital of Halloween.
Though Halloween is a fairly new phenomenon in Asian countries, this Chinese city has fully embraced the Western tradition. Earlier in the year, the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival marks a similar holiday. Throughout the entire month of October, both Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park transform into haunted playgrounds filled with costumed characters and creepy attractions. And Halloween evening involves trick-or-treating down Avenue of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, followed by late-night festivities in Lan Kwai Fong.
Halloween celebrations in Hong Kong can get pretty spooky. If celebrating at home, try renting some classic Chinese horror films or reading some Hong Kong scary stories by candlelight.
What better place to celebrate Halloween than where it all began? Contrary to popular belief, Halloween did not originate in the United States. The Irish-born holiday started over 3,000 years ago as the pagan festival of Samhain, when it was said that the dead returned to the mortal world. Today, the Irish spend their Halloween dressing up, trick-or-treating and eating traditional Irish Halloween foods like Colcannon, Potato Farls and Barmbrack.
Meath, the actual birthplace of Halloween, hosts a family-friendly festival every year, with events like “Spookling Afternoon Tea” and a murder mystery dinner. Celebrate at home by playing “snap apple,” the Irish version of bobbing for apples, where the apple is suspended by a string.