Do They Celebrate Halloween in Europe?

  • March 2014
  • Posted By JohnnyG

While Halloween has certainly become a commercialized holiday in the United States, it often brings up the question about whether or not it is celebrated in other parts of the world. When October 31st rolls around in Europe, you can count on witches and ghosts to haunt the European streets as they too celebrate such as a popular store called Danish kostumer og udklaedning. This online kostumer site has all of the best costumes in Europe available.

Of course, while Europe does celebrate Halloween in a commercial sense, some of the countries have a more religious approach to this holiday. This balance has helped to create a few interesting elements that sometimes bleed over between the holiday traditions we find. Some believe that Halloween is Europe is a combination of the early Roman Feralia which was a day set aside to commemorate the dead. It was then paired with the Celtic celebration known as Samhain, where the Celts would leave food in their doorways to welcome good spirits into their home, while wearing masks to chase off the evil spirits in the area. As the Romans spread their reach, they began to incorporate many of their traditions with others that already existed to help make the transformation easier at the time.

Pope Gregory who attempted to replace pagan festivals and to create a balance that many of the Pagans were comfortable with, designated November 1 as, ‘All Saints’ day. This was designed to be a day for those saints who did not have an honory day to still be celebrated in the church. To continue with the traditions of Samhain, All Hallows Eve was introduced where Christians would visit homes in the area to feed the hungry. This approaching homes and knocking on the doors for food would then evolve into “Trick or Treating”. This is of course a popular tradition where people purchase costumes from places like the online store called Danish kostumer og udklaedning, and dress up and to give patrons the choice between a trick or a treat. If a tiny sweet treat is not given a trick of some kind often occurs.

Here’s something most people don’t realize and that the tradition of Halloween is believed to have originated in Europe and was brought over to the United States by Irish immigrants. Many of these individuals offered their own unique traditions and shared them with others, which resulted in holidays that appear very popular in the US. This includes days like St. Patrick’s Day and more where you can even find costumes from this online kostumer site. Beyond costumes, decorations, pumpkin carving and even some of the baked goods also stem from Irish roots.

That means across the globe, there are people dressing up and hitting the streets in the search for sweets and other treats that can be enjoyed. There are also costume parties where people get together and dance in costume and let loose, as they are having a great time celebrating this holiday. It is a fun chance to let go and to experience all the unique wonders that the day can offer.

That doesn’t mean that the holiday itself is welcome and embraced by every country in Europe. For example, Poland tends to look at this holiday as being a somber day full of remembrance and mourning the dead. Here, candles are lit in memory on graves and flowers are placed in a loving fashion. Churches are filled with mourners who celebrate their loved ones lives and this continues over into All Saints Day. Part of the reason for this is the very religious nature of Poland. As you may know, this is an area where Catholicism is the dominate religion and the religious views carry over into many of the local celebrations. However, in recent years there has become an increase in those who participate in many of the more modernized commercial views of this day.

As with other areas of the world, there are some differences you will find between one area and the next.

In Bosnia for example, Halloween is called Noć vještica or Night of the Witches. During this holiday, children and teens will wear their costumes everywhere including to school.

Germany didn’t embrace Halloween until the 1990s, because of their opposition to the Lutheran Church. On Halloween, they participate in Süßes oder Saures which is their version of Trick or Treating. However, with many older individuals not embracing the holiday, the number of tricks played on them is higher here.

Ireland embraces a massive celebration where everyone dresses up with the ghosts, ghouls and other evil forces. Here, they shoot off fireworks while no longer designed to ward off evil, they are still part of the social tradition and in Derry, they celebrate the largest Halloween Celebration in the nation.

Romania uses Halloween to celebrate the mythology of Dracula. With the largest celebration taking place in Transylvania, this is an experience unlike any others and while people celebrate the Day of the Dead also, both are both incredibly important in this section of Europe.

Scandinavia has recently started to embrace Halloween and the tradition has continued to grow in this area. Here, the scary costumes are still worn and the festive parties are fully embraced by those living in the area. However, in Denmark, the festival known as Fastelavn is very similar and one that many people in the area are quicker to embrace, since many of the events between both are very similar.

As you can see, Halloween is celebrated in Europe. It is still founded in a number of unique traditions and it remains one of the most exciting times of the year. While the general approach to it can vary slightly, there is a good chance that when you visit any of the European countries you will still experience the spirit of the holiday and that helps it to maintain its appeal to all of those who appreciate and enjoy this spooky time of the year.


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