Halloween Folk Customs
Halloween hasn’t always been about costumes and Trick-or-Treating. Its history stretches far into the past where it was both a way to honor the spirits and souls of those who no longer lived. Here are examples of how it is celebrated in different countries:
Austria has Halloween traditions that are more rooted in spiritual overtones. It is common for people to leave bread near a lighted lamp to welcome the dead souls back to earth.
Superstitions abound. Crossing the path of a black cat or traveling by ship at this time will lead to bad luck for the foreseeable future. Many light candles of remembrance for loved who that have passed on.
Modern Halloween traditions began in the 1800s and are similar to those celebrated in the United States: carving pumpkins, fall festivals and trick or treating.
There is a popular Halloween festival in China called Teng Chieh. Food, water and photographs of loved ones who have died are placed on altars. These death shrines help souls find their way back to earth at this time.
In this country chairs are used to signify those that have passed on. They are placed near fire where the living sit in them and welcome the spirits that visit on Halloween night.
In the past, children would carve pumpkins into designs of their choice and went out onto the streets with their lit pumpkins. Many also went door to door asking for money. Today candy has replaced the money.