Beyond Halloween: Dark Holidays All Over the World and How They Are Celebrated

Halloween is just around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. For me, the celebration begins as soon as October 1st peaks its head around the corner. I crave the pumpkins, start working on my costume, and stock up on candy. However, did you know that Halloween isn’t the only spooky adventure that comes forth this time of the year? There are also numerous other dark holidays celebrated across the globe. So, if you’re someone who is interested in unusual traditions and weird holidays, then you’re in for a treat with this article. Let’s discuss some of our other favorite holidays that roll in with the changing leaves.

Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)

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Let’s start with the colorful Day of the Dead, also known as Dia de los Muertos. This is a national holiday of Mexico, and it’s a lot more cheerful than it sounds. This five-day festival, which takes place from October 31 to November 2, is evidence of how much the Mexican people love to honor their lost loved ones. Families create elaborate altars that are decorated with sugar skulls, marigolds and candles. They also make the favorite meals and drinks to enjoy with their deceased. Events held in cemeteries, which are transformed into beautiful exhibitions of remembrance and reverence, inspire a feeling of connection to the past that transcends time and death. This is why we may consider it one of the dark holidays despite its celebratory nature.

Hungry Ghost Festival

The next leg of our journey takes us to East Asia, where China celebrates the Hungry Ghost Festival. This festival usually takes place in August. Tradition holds that during this time, the gates to the afterlife swing open, releasing ravenous souls in search of food. To pacify these traveling spirits, families leave offerings of food, incense, and other things. The event is also distinguished by engaging shows, such as traditional opera performances and parades.

Bon Festival (Obon)

A visit to Japan unveils the mesmerizing Obon festival, also known as the Bon Festival. The ancestors’ spirits are greeted during this festival in the middle of August. Traditional dances, visits to family graves where food and incense offerings are made, and hanging of lanterns on rivers to guide these ethereal visitors are also part of the festival. Obon is more than just a ceremony; it is a time for in-depth meditation, reunification with family, and respect for one’s cultural history.

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Samhain

Going back to the West, we discover that Samhain, an old Celtic holiday, is where Halloween first originated. Samhain, which occurs around October 31st, marks the beginning of winter and the ending of the harvest season. It is thought that during this period, the line separating the living from the dead becomes hazy, allowing ghosts to roam freely. For the purpose of receiving guidance from the supernatural, bonfires are lit, costumes are worn, and psychic ceremonies are performed out. The legacy of Samhain is still present in the modern Halloween traditions, making it one of the dark holidays worth mentioning.

El Día de las Brujas (Day of the Witches)

El Da de las Brujas, also known as the Day of the Witches, is an annual celebration that takes place on August 31st throughout Chile. During this unusual holiday, people get together in the streets to perform rituals, build bonfires, and dance to drive evil spirits away. During this time, a lot of people in Chile seek the advice of nearby witches, who they believe have the ability to see into the future and provide wisdom. El Da de las Brujas weaves a rich tapestry of history and belief, combining the mystic with the everyday.

Kanita is a wanderlust-fueled traveler with an inclination for unraveling the mysteries of history, the paranormal, and the bizarre world of medicine. As a true crime buff, Kanita's nights are often spent delving into the depths of chilling mysteries. Yet, it's not just the paranormal that captivates her—her background in medicine fuels a fascination with the weird and wonderful world of medical oddities, from twisted historical practices to the myths and legends that shroud the field. From exploring haunted locales to uncovering the strange and morbid tales of medical history, Kanita is your guide to the unconventional, the unexplained, and the downright eerie.

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