Boo! The weather, the creepy crawlers, and of course, the candy are all something we can associate with a certain holiday – Halloween!
As we know, many cultures around the world celebrate Halloween and all do it a bit differently. Here in the United States, we celebrate by carving pumpkins, decorating our houses, stocking up on candy and dressing up in our best costumes. Many cultures do the same, but there are also different traditions in place for others.
After volunteering as a student assistant and talking with a teacher at the Calamandrei Secondary School in Florence, Italy, I gained a better understanding of what Halloween in Italy looks like.
As in the United States, the children are most excited about dressing up and eating pounds of candy. Ms. Facchini, a fourth-grade English teacher said: “The students’ most favorite thing to do here is have a costume contest. They come to class prepared to be the winners of this contest. It’s so thrilling to watch how excited they get to vote on their classmates’ outfits.”
It’s so thrilling to watch how excited they get to vote on their classmates’ outfits.
Another interesting thing she told me about Halloween traditions in Italy is the presence of people in church. In the United States, Halloween is not typically seen as a religious holiday for many people, so it was fascinating to find out that it is for a large majority of Italians.
When she told me this, I thought back to my elementary school days. I remember my favorite part about Halloween was also to go to school and participate in costume contests. I always thought I had the best costume until I actually got to school – where I would look around and ask myself how I didn’t think of someone else’s amazing idea first.
Comparing these cultures was interesting, but there were definitely more similarities than differences between the two.
On the other hand, I did a little research and digging to find that the Czech Republic treats Halloween quite differently. An article from Reader’s Digest called “Halloween Around the World: Customs and Traditions” says, “Czechs place candles and flowers on graves. At home, they place a chair for each dead relative by the fireside.”
I talked to a CSU student who studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic about this tradition. They said, “This tradition is a real thing you see in the Czech Republic. It was actually amazing to study abroad during this time to experience a completely new side of Halloween that I never knew existed. The Czechs believe that through this tradition, they are able to speak with the dead and hold legitimate conversations with them.”
It was actually amazing to study abroad during this time to experience a completely new side of Halloween that I never knew existed.
Wow – what an interesting perspective and twist on this holiday. Maybe this is where the haunted house and graveyard ideas originated from!
This all goes to show just how different certain cultures and individuals celebrate holidays around the world. While Halloween may be celebrated differently between places like the United States and the Czech Republic, it still remains a famous holiday that connects people throughout the world.
— By Aidan Loughran
Aidan Loughran has a strong passion for the world and the people that surround her each and every day. When writing for Culturs, she wants her readers to relate to everything she writes. She fills her writing with a passion for the world, cultures, and life in general. Third-culture kids along with all other individuals of unique ethnicity, race, culture, and tradition all have a story to tell — a story that she wants to be a part of.