It’s that time of year again: Halloween is knocking at the door! Pumpkins are being carved, fancy Halloween costumes are being chosen, kids go from door to door saying “trick or treat” and the most bizarre Halloween parties are celebrated — with masks this time! But did you know that there is much more to Halloween than all that? Halloween is not only a trick or treat.
Here we introduce you to some of the strangest Halloween traditions in Europe.
Hiding The Knives (Germany).
This lesser-known Halloween tradition belongs to the Germans.
In Germany, Halloween has only been celebrated since 1991. In a part of the south, it is known as the“Week of the Whole Soul”, which lasts from October 30 to November 8. It is believed that dead relatives visit their families during this time. For this reason, the Germans hide all the knives in their houses to make sure that the spirits returning to the land of the living do not get hurt.
El Día De Los Muertos (Spain).
In Spain, Halloween is actually a three-day celebration.
It starts on October 31st with the Dia de Las Brujas(Day of the Witches). Then it continues with the Dia de Todos Los Santos(All Saints Day) on November 1st and ends with the Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on November 2nd. All around Spain you will find Huesos de Santo. These Halloween pastries are basically cylindrical marzipan cookies filled with candied egg yolk said to resemble the bones of Saints. There are slight differences in the different regions of Spain.
In Galicia in northern Spain, October 31st is known as theNight of the Pumpkins. They carve pumpkins, throw costume parties, bonfires and practice the regular trick or treat. They even prepare a special alcoholic drink calledQueimada. It’s prepared inside a pumpkin and drunk after reciting a spell.
Catalans, on the other hand, celebrate La Castañada(the chestnut) on this night. Festivities feature the likes of roasted chestnuts, sweet potatoes, and small almond ball cakes.
Unrevealing the Halloween Secrets (Barcelona).
It is no secret that Barcelona’s history is full of mysteries and spooky places. So what better way to explore these local legends with a spooky and exciting scavenger hunt through the haunted streets of the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona? On October 31st, people from all over the world flock to Barcelona to participate in the mission to unlock the eerie secrets of Barcelona’s past with maps, clues and costumes. It is believed that the origin of this festival comes from a few curious Barcelonians who yearn to uncover the truths behind the ghostly legends of Barcelona.
Wedding Traditions (Scotland).
In Scotland, people traditionally peel an apple around these days. The skin must be kept in one long strip. Then they throw the peel over their back so that it will fall and lay on the ground, displaying the name of the person they are going to marry.
England has a similar tradition. Young people stand in a darkened room gazing at their own reflection. The mirror is supposed to show the face of the person they are going to marry. If a skeleton appears, it means they will die before they marry.
Halloween Bonfire (Ireland).
Halloween in Ireland began as a festival called Samhain and it was a day when the portal between the world of the living and the world of the dead was weakest. The spirits were stuck between the worlds. To help them, bonfires were lit so that the newly dead would arrive safely in the other world. The Irish still continue these Halloween traditions today by lighting bonfires and, in the more modern version, children going door to door asking for trick or treat.
A Funeral Meal for the Spirits (Italy).
In Italy, special cakes are baked in the form of beans. The cakes are called“Fave dei Morti”(beans of the dead). The meaning derives from the ancient belief that the souls of the dead lived in fava beans, which at that time allowed the connection between the world of the living and the world of the dead. After preparing the cake, people prepare a meal for the dead and then leave the house all day. The dead can then enter the unlocked house and distort the meal. But if the food does not taste good, the people are cursed!
Extra: A Very Special Halloween Party (Blu Selection).
The Blu Selection Team celebrates Halloween not once but twice with an online party for our remote workers and an office party with lots of booze. For what reason? We just love to dress up, read horror stories to each other and spend some time together. Everyone brings something to eat and drink. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Exactly the same we think, so make it twice if you can!
We wish you a Happy Halloween!