HomeNewsMany cultures and religious beliefs have different ways of celebrating Halloween

Many cultures and religious beliefs have different ways of celebrating Halloween


Whether it’s a Fall Festival with your church, Dia de los Muertos, the traditional Halloween, or a cultural gathering with family and friends to celebrate superstitions and the dead, people everywhere have one thing in common, the delightful indulgence of candy. 

According to History.com. Halloween originiated with the Celtic Festival of Samhain (sow-in) in Ireland.  The Celts celebrated the new year on November 1st, which marked the end of summer and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, associated with the dead. Common Celtic belief dictated that on October the worlds of the living and dead were blurred so that the ghost of the deceased returned to earth. Celtic priest built massive bonfires, where people collaborated to burn crops and animals as sacrifices. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes honoring the dead. By the ninth century, the influence of Christianity had spread and in 1000 A.D. All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain; with big bonfires, parades, and various costumes. The saint’s day celebration was called All-Hallows and the night before it; the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-Hallows Eve and eventually Halloween.

Halloween isn’t the only fall season celebration TJC students celebrate. For some, mainly those of the Hispanic heritage, Dia de los Muertos is a significant way to celebrate the coming of the fall season.

“We don’t go trick-or-treating, a lot of people don’t dress up. We do have the Halloween theme, some people do that, but we do the thing like Halloween, we go to the house so they can give you more candy,” said Sophia Montelongo linguistics and music education major.

In Mexico, Latin America and Spain, All Souls Day is commemorated with a three-day celebration, beginning evening of October 31, through November 2. The celebration is in place to honor the dead who, it is believed, return to their earthly homes on Halloween.

“We (my family) have a lot of old traditional stuff and American stuff combined. So we do Halloween too, but we also do Dia de los Muertos like the older people, its part of our tradition,” said Montelongo.

Many families make an altar for the dead in their homes to honor deceased relatives. They decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs and samples of the deceased favorite foods and drinks.

“We make a bunch of food and we put it out for the dead, to respect them…where i’m from (northern Mexico) we also have big parades,” said Montelongo.

For some students, Halloween isn’t an exact issue, but they have a different name and meaning as far as what they celebrate. 

“I think our culture in some ways has baptized Halloween. In other words it’s less about the scary or the ancient stuff…we try to separate ourselves from anything scary or gross that which is most ugliest,” said Mark Jones Director of Baptist Student Ministries.

Many people describe it as a Fall Festival, a safe alternative to Halloween. 

“I think Christians have a great opportunity to redefine it, to do some different things and not shy away from celebrating a change of season, or a change of life…As a minister for me, to look at what we’ve practiced and the traditions of what we’ve practiced and making sure we do stuff right, if we’re going to redefine and re-invent something we want to be purposeful in that and intentional to do something that’s positive,” said Jones.

Some fun activities may include games, costume contest, candy, fun food, and all within a safe environment.

“We’ll do a costume contest and some other good things around here to embrace the good things about the fall season…when I grew up as a kid, going trick-or-treating was always about getting as much candy as you could get, that was the best part of Halloween,” said Jones.

 Students from all over the world come to TJC and bring their countries way of doing things with them, in some cultures but Halloween is non-existent.

“In my country we actually don’t celebrate Halloween,” said Lexus-Kiyra, Cubrero South American Student from Barranquilla, Columbia.

Religion may be a well-known factor as to why some people do not celebrate Halloween.

“It’s against our religion well my families religion one and two they believe it’s to worship the devil,” said Cubrero.

In other cases Halloween may be the highlight of some peoples year after a tragedy. 

“My dad passed away three years ago so my mom is not as big about holidays anymore, Christmas and stuff hurts her feelings so she decided Halloween would be our family holiday. No sad memories, she wants to make new happy memories,” said Rischard.

 For this family the fun events of Halloween brought out the best of the season.

“Its my moms favorite holiday, like she goes all out. We put up decorations out front, we usually have a party…my mom gives out candy, costumes and everything,” said Suzanne Rischard, TJC Campus Bookstore Employee.

By starting a new tradition, this family has learned to deal with some hard times by tucking some bad memories away and learning to embrace the coming of the season and the happiness of others.

” Starting new traditions after something bad like that happens is a good thing, they always say to get over grief start new traditions,” said Rischard.

TJC has an electric genre of students, some who celebrate Halloween, some who do not, and others who turn it around and use it as positive energy in times of sorrow, or in a faith based community. Whatever the circumstance, TJC have a place for all its students.

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