Many countries celebrate Halloween or a similar holiday to honor the dead.
People in Spain and Mexico celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on November 1 and 2. They build orfendas (altars) on which they place gifts of tequila or sugar skulls.
The Hungry Ghost Festival in China and Hong Kong is a month-long celebration that takes place in the late summer. People make offerings of food to the dead. They also perform operas and parades.
Halloween is believed to be derived from a Celtic holiday called Samhain that is still celebrated in Ireland and Scotland. The celebrations traditionally include bonfires and fortune-telling.
Haitians celebrate a Voodoo holiday called Fed Gede (Festival of the Ancestors). Celebrants visit their ancestors’ graves and light candles.
Londonderry in Northern Ireland is the site of “Banks of the Foyle,” which is the largest Halloween carnival in Europe.
Chuseok is a three-day long holiday celebrated in South Korea. People visit their hometowns to pay respects to their ancestors and share a traditional feast.
People in the United States didn’t really start celebrating Halloween until the 19th century. Many immigrants from Scotland and Ireland arrived then, and they brought their Halloween traditions with them.
Italians consider All Souls Day (November 1) a religious holiday. People on the island Sardinia, however, carve pumpkins to celebrate Halloween. They call jack o lanterns “Concas de Mortu” (“heads of the dead”).
In Nepal, people celebrate Gai Jatra (Festival of Cows) in the late summer to honor relatives who died that year. Families who lost a loved one join a parade during which they lead a cow to help the deceased reach heaven.
Children in the Philippines participate in Pangangaluluwâ, a version of trick-or-treating in which they sing for their candy.
People in Poland celebrate Zaduszki (All Souls’ Day), during which they place small gifts, lanterns and wreaths on relatives’ graves.
The Japanese celebrate a Buddhist festival called Obon that lasts three days. People visit ancestors’ graves and perform ceremonial dances.
Pchum Ben is a religious festival in Cambodia that lasts 15 days. People feast and ride buffalo in races.