Happy Halloween from International Studies Abroad!
As we celebrate All Hallow’s Eve in the United States today, here are some ways students may be celebrating the holiday around the world during their study abroad.
In Ireland, Halloween night is called Oíche Shamhna or “Samhain Night.” In Irish, Samhain is the name for the month of November. The traditional dessert for Halloween in Ireland is a fruitcake called barmbrack and inside of the Halloween Brack you will find hidden objects used to tell fortunes. Each object (a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin which was originally a silver sixpence, and a ring) carries a different meaning for the person who finds it.
On All Souls’ Eve the British traditionally would stay up late and eat little “soul cakes.” At the stroke of midnight a moment of silence was observed to remember the dead and candles were also lit in each room to guide the souls back home. The modern form of Trick-or-Treating started in England as children went around the neighborhood singing songs and praying for the dead, in exchange for soul cakes.
Until the mid 1970’s Halloween was only celebrating by a small number of Italians, as the Catholic Church went to great lengths to suppress feasts heralding All Saints Day. Since then, the holiday has taken on a much more American vibe and is now a major Italian holiday celebrated by millions.
Halloween has continued to grow in popularity over the last 20 years as Chilean children go from house to house yelling “¡Dulce o travesura!” in hopes of receiving candy and treats.
Similar to Chile, in Brazil children also ask for candy by yelling “Travessuras ou gostosuras!”
Halloween is considered more of a social event in India and celebrations mainly take place in major cities such as Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Chandigarh. Instead, Hindus will celebrate Diwali, or the Fall festival of light, which takes place around the same time of year.
How are you celebrating Halloween in your part of the world?