Culture  • 

Celebrating Halloween around the world – Europe

October 27, 2014
Halloween time in France. Photo: Claude Lina

Halloween time in France. Photo: Claude Lina

Halloween, the first day of so-called Allhallowtide, is traditionally the time to remember the dead relatives and saints. In United States, it has become one of the most commercial holidays and the customs gradually spread around the world. The old traditions are still alive today though. Here’s how Halloween is celebrated in Europe!

Today’s Halloween traditions are thought to have started in Celtic countries and influenced by the Samhain festival, when Celts celebrated the end of the summer by lighting up the bonfires, offering food to gods and holding games. In modern Scotland and Ireland, people started to disguise themselves and go from house to house singing songs in exchange for food. Then in 18th century, to imitate milignant spirits, they played pranks to each other – a tradition which later spread to England and then to United States.

Nowadays in Great Britain and Ireland, Halloween celebrations are similar to US ones, but are a bit darker and still connected to scaring off the spirits. Older people go to the cemeteries to light the candles and remember their dead ones and in Ireland some even refrain from eating meat on that day.


Bonfire in Dublin, Ireland. Photo: Aileen O’Carroll

Though Halloween parties in Europe are becoming more and more popular, in some countries the traditions are still alive and cherished. For most of the people, it’s a time to remember their dead relatives, visit their graves and light up candles or bring flowers for them. The cemeteries are lit up with thousands of candles and it’s a quiet and serious day for the Christians.


Cemetery in Poland.
Photo: onyks


Halloween in Skogskyrkogården cemetery, Sweden. Photo: Michael Caven




In Tab, Hungary. Photo: Romeodesign

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