There’s something fascinating about the notion of death and dying. What happens after we pass through this life? Many cultures around the world have created unique ways to honor deceased family and friends, along with traditions designed to keep evil spirits at bay. Some believe the American Halloween has its roots as a festival to remember the dead. How about Halloween around the world?
The Festival of Lanterns, Obon, or the Festival of the Dead is held in August. It is a “homecoming” of sorts, where the spirits of ancestors visit living relatives. Many Japanese prepare special meals as offerings and hang lanterns in front of homes to guide the spirits.
During P’chum Ben, a celebration linked to the lunar calendar and often in September, Buddhists honor their dead by bringing sweet sticky rice and beans wrapped in banana leaves to temples and gather with family and friends to hear music and speeches by monks.
On All Saints Day, Nov. 1, Catholic Germans honor the memory of saints and visit the graves of family members. From October 30 to November 8, Germans hide knives so returning spirits won’t be hurt by everyday knife movements.
Similar to Germany, Austrian Catholics celebrate All Souls Week from October 30 to November 8. Some Austrians honor their dead relatives by turning on a lamp during the night and leaving bread and water.
During the festival Teng Chieh or the Feast of the Hungry Ghosts, lanterns and bonfires are lit to guide spirits back to Earth. Water and food are placed before portraits of dead relatives. Wandering ghosts are said to look for food, recognition and care in the afterlife.
During the Commemoration of All the Departed at the end of autumn, Czechs place flowers and candles on graves. At home, they place a chair for each dead relative by the fireside. Legend has it that the living can speak to the dead, who can hear—and respond.
Many Italian families make bean-shaped caked called Beans of the Dead. In southern Italy, families prepare a feast for the departed relatives, then go to church, leaving their homes open so spirits can feast.
Children dress up, go trick-or-treating, and play a game called “snap-apple” where an apple is tied on a tree and kids attempt to bite the apple.
At home, families place food, drink and cempasúchil flowers near photographs of deceased relatives to welcome them back. On the Day of the Dead, people decorate skulls and create images of skulls and skeletons.
Some people like to travel by train because it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of an airplane.
I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”
“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” —Everyone following you on Instagram
A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.
Comedian Greg Davies
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me everything you know.”
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” —Alcohol
@yoyoha (Josh Hara)
My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?
A: A mechanic.
More About Culture
What You’re Sharing
- 11 Instagram-Worthy Staycation Ideas for Spring Break
- 8 Spanish Phrases Everyone Should Know How to Use
- Thinking About Hosting a Clothing Swap? 9 Things You Need to Do First
- Forget Book Club: This Fishing Club Is the Ultimate Female Bonding Experience
- 10 French Phrases Everyone in the World Should Know