The spooky season is in place now! While enjoying the costume parties and trick-or-treats with friends and family, take a glance at how the other part of the world celebrates the festival of the dead and ghosts.
Mexico and Costa Rica:
You wouldn’t be able to take your eyes off the iconic sugar skulls, or “Calavera” at this festival. Those fancy decorations and patterns showcased Latin America's unique and interesting style to face the dead and the deceased. People fill the festival with bright colors, flowers, food, dance, and music.
Ireland and Scotland:
In modern Irish, “Samhain” means “the summer’s end”, and in the meanwhile, it kicks off the Celtic new year– a signal of both death and rebirth. Rituals associated with Samhain today include dancing, feasting, taking nature walks, and building altars to honor their ancestors.
The Obon festival marks the opening of the gateway between the living world and death. On the first day of Obon, people take the chochin lanterns to the graves of their families. They call their ancestors’ spirits back home in a ritual called mukae-bon. In some regions, huge fires are lit at the entrances of houses to guide the spirits to enter.
This festival dates back to early Christianity, and it is originally designed to celebrate all the saints of the church. In Sicily, people give food and sweets to the children who have behaved well. In Basilicata, the spirits are believed to join the ceremony from the hills holding a lighted candle. In Campania, families save water for the thirsty souls.
It is said that indigenous people use the giant kites as a gateway communicator with the dead. Souls of the deceased can visit the living once a year for 24 hours, according to tradition, and the kites act as a beacon to help the spirits locate their loved ones.
The Pangangaluluwa is the Phillipino Halloween. Children go from house to house singing special songs in return for money, food, and prayers.
In China, the ghost festival marks the returning of the passed-away loved ones. Chinese families gather, make special offerings and cuisines, and burn paper money or clothes to make sure our loved ones in the other world do not suffer from hunger or coldness.
Looking through all those traditions, the concept of demonstrating the living’s love and wish for the departed families and friends is universal. Death is not always associated with scare, but warmth and emotional bonds.