News Halloween and festivals of the dead around the world

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Halloween and festivals of the dead around the world

Skyscanner takes a look at how All Hallows Eve is celebrated around the world

With Halloween just round the corner, Skyscanner takes a look at how All Hallows Eve is celebrated around the world.

Halloween has its roots in Samhain, an ancient Gaelic festival roughly meaning “summer’s end”. During this time, it was believed that the divide between the living and dead became thin, allowing spirits to pass between the two worlds, hence the need to ward off evil whilst welcoming ancestral spirits home.

From dancing with dead bodies to walking with zombies, our fascination with the undead seems to be a universal trait that spans international borders.

So come with us as we explore the underworld of spirits, skulls and skeletons, with Halloween around the world.


The Emerald Isle is acknowledged for being the originator of Halloween, which is where Samhain started. Today, Halloween is still celebrated widely with large street parties, bonfires and fireworks. Dublin will host its annual Halloween Festival and Parade, where all manner of ghostly creatures from the underworld take to the highways and byways of the city. Find cheap flights to Ireland


North Americans are such enthusiastic celebrators of Halloween, that its product sales have begun to rival those of Christmas! People of all ages get into the scary spirit, showing off their elaborate costumes, but as well as ghosties and ghoulies, dressing up as superheroes or cartoon characters is equally common. Trick or treating is customary and carving ‘jack-o-lanterns’ from pumpkins especially popular. Horror movies also flood the cinemas at this time of year. Find cheap flights to North America


Halloween is well celebrated in the UK especially with children, but adults also get in on the action too. One of the more interesting events this year is the London Zombie walk, where hundreds of people dressed as the undead will gather and then walk through the streets of the capital, moaning and groaning as they visit twelve pubs along the way. Just watch out for zombie slayers! Find cheap flights to the UK


Halloween in Russia has become quite popular with celebrations often taking place at schools and kindergartens, but its rise has not pleased everyone; the Orthodox Church has said that people should ignore Halloween and other foreign festivals and play closer attention to Russian traditions and costumes. This has lead to some schools in Moscow being ordered to ban students from the celebrating Halloween, which they have termed “the cult of death”. Find cheap flights to Russia


Halloween was introduced to Norway towards the end of the 90s, where it’s believed that Donald Duck comics helped promote the holiday. Children run from door to door in scary costumes shouting “knask eller knep!” (trick or treat!), while teenagers and adults dressed as witches and ghosts dance the night away at private parties or in demonically-decorated clubs. Find cheap flights to Norway


The Day of the Dead which occurs on the 1st and 2nd of November is dedicated to the celebration of those who have died. However, despite its macabre appearance, it is a joyous festival because it’s believed that this is when lost ones return to earth to visit their families and friends. The celebrations see bright street carnivals with elaborate costumes, skulls and coffins paraded through cities, towns and villages throughout the country. Find cheap flights to Mexico


Halloween is relatively new to Sweden, only gaining popularity over the last decade. Many bars and clubs in Swedish cities host Halloween themed events and masquerade parties. The Stockholm Ghost Walk, a tour of the city’s darker side which tells tales of murders, myths and mysteries, is especially popular at this time of year. Find cheap flights to Sweden


While Halloween is still quite a new tradition, it has become increasingly popular with children and adults alike since the 90s. One of the most well visited Halloween events is the festival celebrated at Castle Frankenstein near Frankfurt/Main. From 23 October – 8 November visitors will feel a ghostly chill as 77 zombies follow them through the darkness and hair-raising shows loom behind every corner. Find cheap flights to Germany


Halloween is not traditionally celebrated in Japan although the Japanese appreciation of American pop culture has led to a rise in its popularity. However, Obon festival, which honours the deceased, takes place in mid-August when families return home to tend their ancestral graves and call their spirits back home. The festival often ends with candle lit paper lanterns being floated down a river, symbolising the departure of ancestors back to the spirit world. Find cheap flights to Japan


Halloween is little celebrated on this island off the east coast of Africa, but Madagascans do have a particularly unusual way of honouring their dead. The ‘turning of the bones’ is an ancient ritual where the tombs of the dead are opened, the remains removed, dressed in fresh clothes and then passed around and danced with by friends and relatives. The locals believe it is an essential way of remembering their loved ones. Dancing with dead bodies is certainly not going to be forgotten quickly! Find cheap flights to Madagascar