- The origin of Halloween.
- Quotes from real people across the Spanish speaking world on how their country celebrates Halloween.
Candy and Costumes
Say the word “Halloween” in the United States, and people will immediately think of two things: candy and costumes. Every year when the sun goes down on October 31st, you will find families carving Jack-o-Lanterns, children dressed up in costumes of every shape and size, lawns decorated with spooky decorations, and buckets and buckets of candy. Where did the tradition of Halloween come from?
The Origin of Halloween
The tradition of Halloween originated in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween.
Halloween and All Saints Day in Other Countries
Let’s take a look at how these traditions from long ago are celebrated today in a few Central American, South American, and European countries.
“Feast of Halloween here in Spain is a bit different than in the United States. It’s more a party of costumes than anything. People don’t go from house to house knocking the doors and saying trick or treat and receive candies. There’s a feast here in Europe November 1t, it’s All Saints Day. People celebrate the ones who are in heaven, they visit cemeteries to put flowers on family graves.”
“Well, Halloween is celebrated here, but it’s not a big deal so to speak. Usually kids dress up and ask for candy, but sometimes not. It’s more common for them to dress up and for parents to give them sweets. Adults also celebrate, there are always parties and most of them are in costume. It’s really not a very important party here. It is also common to go to the cemetery. Many visit families and friends who have already died.
“Well, there really isn't much of a tradition of celebrating Halloween, but in recent years that culture has been adopted a bit due to the influence that the USA has here in the Dominican Republic. So lately they mainly do costume parties in bars. In some schools they can do costume activities but with the older ones.”
- Yeral O. from the Dominican Republic.
Only a few celebrate Halloween who are influenced by the neighboring country (USA), and marketing in commercial chains and commerce in general. In schools they teach us the celebration of the day of the dead, but not Halloween. In particular I do not celebrate neither one nor the other. But a lot of people do, and I respect that.
In Colombia we celebrate Halloween with costumes and eating lots of sweets and desserts; I add good music to it. I love that it is a day where we can be what we want and be happy.
Were you surprised by these answers? Halloween is such a big event in the United States that it’s hard to imagine October without it. At Nacho Books, we love exploring and celebrating other cultures and encourage our community to do the same.
Do you have any Halloween traditions? Let us know.
P.S. Check out our books here to see how your child can connect with Spanish culture and traditions.