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Halloween Celebrations Around the World: Europe, South America & North America

October 12, 2023
·
by
Alexis Miller

Halloween, originally rooted in Celtic traditions, has evolved into a global celebration, albeit with unique regional twists. While North America has popularized the modern Halloween we know today, Europe and South America have their own fascinating ways of commemorating this spooky holiday. In this blog post, we will explore how different countries in Europe, South America, and North America celebrate Halloween – showcasing the diversity of customs, costumes, and festivities that make this holiday a global phenomenon.

Halloween, originally rooted in Celtic traditions, has evolved into a global celebration, albeit with unique regional twists. While North America has popularized the modern Halloween we know today, Europe and South America have their own fascinating ways of commemorating this spooky holiday. In this blog post, we will explore how different countries in Europe, South America, and North America celebrate Halloween – showcasing the diversity of customs, costumes, and festivities that make this holiday a global phenomenon.

Europe

Ireland - The Birthplace of Halloween 

Halloween originated from the Celtic festival of “Samhain” in Ireland. Here, it's more than just a single night of celebration; it's a month-long affair. People light bonfires, play traditional games, and go door-to-door collecting fruit, nuts, and coins. The tradition of carving turnips into lanterns, which eventually became the iconic Jack-o'-lanterns, began here.

Scotland - Guising In Scotland 

During Halloween, children go "guising," which is similar to trick-or-treating. They dress up in costumes and go from house to house, where they perform a small song, poem, or joke in exchange for treats.

Germany - Walpurgisnacht 

Germany has embraced the concept of dressing up in costumes during a different time of the year: Spring. It’s celebrated on the night of April 30th, and is known as “Walpurgisnacht.” It’s celebrated on the eve of the Christian feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century abbess in Francia. In some parts of Germany, people light huge fires to celebrate the coming of May, while in other parts of Germany, it is part of popular youth culture to play pranks such as tampering with neighbors' gardens, hiding possessions, or spraying graffiti on private property.

South America

Brazil - Dia das Bruxas 

Halloween is known as “Dia das Bruxas” or “Day of Witches” in Brazil. While not as widely celebrated as in North America, some cities, especially those with expat communities, host costume parties and events.

Argentina - All Saints' Day 

In Argentina, Halloween is not as popular as All Saints' Day on November 1st. On this day, families gather to honor their deceased loved ones with visits to cemeteries, candle lighting, and prayer. 

North America

United States and Canada - The Epitome of Halloween 

The United States and Canada are perhaps the epicenter of modern Halloween celebrations. People decorate their homes with spooky ornamentation, carve pumpkins, and go trick-or-treating. Costume parties, haunted houses, and parades are also common. Major cities like New York and Toronto host extravagant Halloween events.

Mexico - Dia de los Muertos 

Mexico celebrates “Dia de los Muertos,” or “Day of the Dead,” from October 31st to November 2nd. It's a vibrant and colorful celebration that honors deceased loved ones. Families create elaborate altars – called “ofrendas” – decorated with marigolds, sugar skulls, and the favorite foods of the departed.

Due to the proximity to Mexico, some parts of the southern United States – like Texas and southern California – have incorporated elements of Dia de los Muertos into their Halloween celebrations. This fusion of traditions adds a unique flavor to the holiday.

Halloween is a holiday that transcends borders, with each country adding its own cultural twist to the festivities. Whether it's the hauntingly beautiful Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, the historical roots in Ireland, or the extravagant celebrations in the United States and Canada, Halloween brings people together worldwide in a shared love for costumes, candy, and all things spooky. As the holiday continues to evolve, it remains a testament to the rich tapestry of global traditions.

Immerse yourself in global Halloween festivities! While exploring Europe, South America, and North America, discover our international eSIM plans for travel abroad and enjoy uninterrupted data roaming.   Refer to our comprehensive guide for international travel.