Halloween, celebrated each year on October 31, is one of the oldest holidays in the world. Originating thousands of years ago, Halloween is considered a festival for the dead, a special day of the year when living and the dead meet. Although it has its root in ancient religious and festival rituals, Halloween is still widely celebrated today in several countries across the globe. So, how do they celebrate Halloween in Europe?
Halloween Gift Ideas
Make this Halloween extra special, give your family and friends a unique Halloween gift from our collection. Have a very spooky and fun Halloween wherever you are!
How Do They Celebrate Halloween In Europe?
Are you curious how do they celebrate Halloween in Europe? Although Halloween is not celebrated as grandly in Europe as it is in the US, many European countries have their own unique and fun ways to mark this spooky holiday. If you go to Europe on Halloween, you’re sure to find a lot of those exciting festivals and celebrations.
In Ireland, where Halloween originated, the day is still celebrated as much as it is in the US. Irish people also call Halloween under the name Samhain, the day when the world of yin and yang harmonizes and the power of darkness reaches its peak.
On this day, sorcerers will perform spells that bring strength to the dead, the living will dress up as ghosts and participate in spirit parties. In the countryside, bonfires are lit, and across the country, children get dressed up in costumes and spent their evenings “trick-or-treating” in their neighborhood. After being trick-or-treating, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends.
A little different from other European countries, Halloween in Austria lasts all week, from October 31 to November 8. It is believed that Halloween is the occasion for the dead to return to their families, a festival for the dead. Therefore, on October 31, each family will place a candle or lantern in the house, bread, and a cup of water to guide their loved ones.
In the following days, the Austrians will visit the graves of their loved ones every night, decorating the graves brilliantly with lanterns, candles, garlands, candies, etc. Some families even hold a ceremony to pray for the dead.
In France and other European countries, it is commonly thought that on Halloween night all the spirits of the dead will roam our world. Traditionally, bellmen in France would ring bells and tell people that spirits were coming.
Carnival is the heart of Halloween in France. Every year, people hold large parades of corpses, witches, zombies, and countless creepy characters in the town of Limoges. Meanwhile, in Paris, giant pumpkin lanterns are erected to light the way for the dead to return, the houses are decorated with spooky and eerie. Halloween parties and proms are usually held at home rather than in a large square.
Sweden is one of the European countries that doesn’t celebrate Halloween. In this country, as in many other European countries, Halloween is still not widely known and celebrated. Instead, they celebrate Alla Helgons Dag or All Saints’ Day by lighting candles for their loved ones who have passed away. In Sweden, this festival can last up to a week, usually from October 31 to November 6.
In the UK, on Halloween, people hang in front of the door or decorate the house with countless ghost-shaped lanterns carved from fruit peels. Not only pumpkin, many fruits such as beetroot, cantaloupe… are also used to make lanterns. On the roads, the eerie light from the lanterns mingled with the bright light of the burning bonfires, as a signal to guide all lonely spirits.
The English bonfire festival dates back to the death of the sinful spirit of Guy Fawkes, who had intended to blow up the Council building in the 17th century and was executed shortly thereafter. Guy Fawkes effigies are burned during the bonfire festival, as a curse to the sinner.
Like many traditionally Catholic countries, Spaniards celebrate Halloween on November 1 by visiting their relative’s cemetery and bringing candles and flowers in their memory.
However, in the region of Catalonia, families reunite on Halloween night to eat sweet potatoes, chestnuts, and special pastries called Panallets that are only linked with the festival of La Castanyada which takes place every October 31.
People celebrate Halloween in Europe according to their own customs and traditions. And in Italy, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are celebrated in memory of relatives who have passed away. In some areas, children wake up on the morning of All Saints’ Day to find a gift from their ancestors. A traditional Italian Halloween cake is the Beans of the Dead, a small, delicious, and colorful pastry.
The German Halloween tradition is very strange (or superstition). People put away all knives on the night of October 31 to avoid the spirits from hurting the living and vice versa.
One of the biggest Halloween events in Germany takes place at Burg Frankenstein near Darmstadt. Actors dressed as ghosts and monsters roam around the candlelit castle scaring visitors, and the creepy background music adds to the atmosphere. This free event has become more and more popular every year.
Halloween is not an official festival in the Czech Republic, although people hold events on October 31 related to this holiday. Czechs have a feast known as Memorial of the Dead, or Dušičky. Dušičky is celebrated the day after All Saints’ Day, November 2.
It is a time when people visit cemeteries, cook dishes specific to this day, and remember loved ones who have passed away. Dušičky has some elements in common with Halloween in that both are derived from the ancient Celtic tradition of Samhain.
The Romans celebrated Halloween on November 30, which is Saint Andrew’s Day. On St Andrew’s Eve, ghosts are said to roam around and that is why many customs related to divination are linked with this night.
Here’s how to celebrate Halloween in Europe. This is probably one of the most mysterious and terrifying holidays in the world. Do you celebrate Halloween in your country? Do you have any of these traditions or do you have your own personal traditions? Let us know in the comments section below!