If you think Halloween is just about dressing up and getting sweets, you’re in for quite a treat when you decide to live in an European city. Not everyone does Halloween in the same way! From hiding coins in potatoes to celebrating life, fall in Europe gets extremely interesting. Here are some of our favourite European Halloween traditions!
UK Halloween Traditions
Although the UK does celebrate Halloween and kids trick-or-treat on the streets, many opt out and pay more attention to the Guy Fawkes Night instead. Guy Fawkes Night aka Bonfire Night is celebrated on November 5th each year and it ends with spectacular fireworks.
While the bonfire itself might not seem like a weird tradition, those that might not be familiar with the holiday keep on asking why does the UK celebrate the day the parliament was almost blown up. After Guy Fawkes’ arrest, bonfires were set around the country in order to celebrate the fact that he was stopped. So contrary to the popular belief, Guy Fawkes Night still celebrates his arrest, not his attempt.
Irish Halloween Traditions
Ireland has many traditions on this holiday, including the costumes and the bonfires. But the bonfire has a completely different function to the UK’s one. Tradition has it that you have to cut a strand of your hair into the burning fire and dream of your future loved one - and that’s the person you’ll end up marrying.
Another popular Irish Halloween tradition involves eating a dish called Colcannon. This dish is fairly simple, made of boiled potatoes, kale, and raw onions. But instead of just eating the potatoes, you also have to watch out for coins. Yup, people hide coins wrapped in pieces of paper inside the dish for the kids. Adults might sometimes get a ring, which would indicate that they’d get married within the year.
Spanish Halloween Traditions
Halloween in Spain differs depending on the region you’re in, but it comes with three main days: Day of the Dead, Day of the Witches, and All Saints Day. While trick-or-treating does exist, Spain uses this holiday to celebrate the life of the dead. Galicia is one of the regions that still holds various events during those days, appealing to both kids and adults. Meanwhile a village in Catalonia called Sant Feliu Sasserra, focuses on a two-day Witch Festival in honour of the 23 women that lost their lives during the Inquisition.
German Halloween Traditions
Germany’s Halloween traditions are largely the same than the traditions you see in the US. However, a town called Retz, the community enjoys an annual pumpkin festival, which comes with a parade. Germany as well as Austria also have a holiday called Reformationstag, which commemorates Martin Luther’ launch of the Reformation. Since Reformationstag is celebrated on October 31st, Germany created special candy called Luther-Bonbons to make sure the day’s remembered even as people celebrate Halloween.
Other European Halloween Traditions
Some European countries don’t really celebrate the holiday on the same date as the rest of the world. Greece and Slovenia have a special name for a similar holiday in February - while people still dress up, go trick-or-treating or have a street party, Halloween is still not a widely commercialised holiday for these countries.
And there you have it! What’s Halloween like in your country? Come let us know in the comments!
Other articles like this: