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October Celebrations Around The World

Teng Chieh festival, El Dia de los Muertos, Alla Helgons Dag, Halloween… who knew there were so many celebrations taking place on or around the end of October? From days to honor the deceased to celebrations that span several months, read on for a look at these spooky celebrations around the globe

Teng Chieh and The Feast of the Hungry GhostsChina
While not usually in October, Teng Chieh is remarkably similar to the Western celebrations surrounding All Saints Day. Dating back 2000 years (give or take) Teng Chieh is a spiritual festival celebrating the connection between the dead and the living. Every year, families set food and drink in front of photographs of deceased relatives to honor them. Lanterns and fires are lit, in order to illuminate a path for the spirits and religious ceremonies take place to commemorate those who have departed.

A month-long event, The Feast of the Hungry Ghosts is a festival meant to calm restless spirits who are said to roam around during this 7th month of the lunar calendar. The idea behind the festival is to soothe the spirits, especially those who died of unnatural causes or weren’t given an proper burial. Paper money is burned and food is offered in an effort to feed the ghosts and help them along in the afterlife.

El Dia de los MuertosMexico
Taking place at the end of October, El Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead) is a 2 day festival celebrating family and friends who have died. The idea is that the deceased wouldn’t want to be honored with sadness and mourning so instead, they are remembered with parties, their favorite food and drinks, and taking part in the activities that they enjoyed while they were alive. With this festival, the natural cycle of life is recognized and celebrated, rather than avoided and feared. It is believed that for one day, the dead are present to celebrate with their living loved ones, which makes this holiday all the more meaningful.

Alla Helgons Dag, Sweden
A day of remembrance and reflection, Alla Helgons Dag (all saints day) is a dignified tribute to the dead marked by the the lighting of candles on family graves. For many, the day is taken off from work and spent in the cemetery where, in addition to candles, flowers and other decorative pieces are placed to honor deceased relatives. The day is meant to be spent with family and often, it is marked with a feast or celebration at church.

Guy Fawkes NightEngland
This event was initially meant to celebrate the execution of English traitor, Guy Fawkes. On the evening of November 5th, bonfires were lit and effigies were burned, while children roamed the streets collecting pennies (think of it as an old-school trick or treating). While reports claim that even the pilgrims celebrated Guy Fawkes Night, new traditions started to beat out the old and the celebration is far less popular than it once was.

The Odo Festival, Nigeria
Lasting several months, rather than a day or two, the Odo festival is a celebration marking the return of the dead to the land of the living. The festival takes part in three stages: the odo’s arrival, their time spent with the living, and ultimately, their return to where they came from. Celebrated with elaborate feasts, music, and plays featuring costumes, choruses, and all matter of theatrical accoutrements, the arrival of the odos is a welcoming affair meant to celebrate and commemorate the return. The departure, on the other hand, is a far more sombre event, marked with strong emotion and acknowledgement that the odos will not be returning for some time.

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