Boo 🙂 Halloween is right around the corner, so it’s time for costumes, candy, and spooky celebrations. But did you know that many cultures worldwide have their own versions of Halloween with unique traditions? Let’s look at some of these fascinating holidays similar to Halloween in different countries.
This article covers international Halloween-like celebrations and traditions from around the world! Some of the Halloween-esque holidays across the globe may be familiar to you, but there will definitely be some surprising festivals, traditions, and holidays.
As a note, before diving into similar holidays to Halloween in different countries, I will say, from the beginning, that more and more countries are celebrating Halloween. Some took only the commercial part – trick or treating, costume parties etc. -, but they still have Halloween fairs and events.
This article presents local Halloween-like traditions and events – and you will see (like I did), that there are many parts of the world that honor ancestors, that there are many holidays when people think that the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is very thin on one day/night of the year, and that there are many holidays when people disguise themselves through costumes from evil spirits and lit bonfires to keep them at bay.
Included on this guide to the Global Festivals Like Halloween are:
- Samhain – Ireland and Scotland
- Sfântul Andrei (Saint Andrew’s Day) – Romania and other countries
- Día de los Muertos – Mexico and Spain
- Obon Festival – Japan
- Hungry Ghost Festival – China, Singapore, and Malaysia
- Toussaint – All Saints Day in France
- Zaduski – All Souls’ Day – Poland
- Pangangaluluwa and “Day of the Dead” (Araw ng mga Patay) – Philippines
- Gai Jatra – Nepal
- Dia de las Brujas – Venezuela
- Pchum Ben – Cambodia
- Pitru Paksha – India
Samhain – Ireland and Scotland
Let’s kick things off in the Celtic heartlands of Ireland and Scotland. If you’re in the mood for a Halloween celebration with deep historical roots, then Samhain is your ticket.
It falls on October 31st, marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark half of the year.
You can experience the ancient Celtic traditions of lighting bonfires, carving turnips (the original Jack-o’-lanterns), and dressing in elaborate costumes to ward off evil spirits. In Ireland, Derry hosts the “Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival,” a week-long…