I remember there was this one year in my childhood I actually celebrated Halloween in Singapore with a bunch of friends trick-or-treating around the neighbourhood. We had a little friendly competition for the most creative costume. I gave it my all, finding things around the house which will make my “costume” special – from ketchup to toilet rolls, anything I could use. Unfortunately, our high spirits were dampened by closed doors and how the television portrayed Halloween seemed to a big fat lie. Unlike in North America, where most households decorate their front yard or prepare some candies for the children around the neighbourhood, Halloween is not a particularly big event elsewhere.
In England, English children actually asked for money instead of candies at some point, but now it is the usual custom with candies. Although in the same continent, the French did not celebrate Halloween at all up until the late 20th century; but with rising American influence, Halloween is seeing a rising popularity in France. Similarly in Asian countries such as, but not limited to, Korea and the Philippines, Halloween is celebrated as a commercial holiday and more are adopting the culture and celebrating Halloween with events for instance going for horror nights at theme parks or haunted houses.
Did you also know that Halloween was also a festival to honour the dead (although we spend most of our Halloweens having candy and junk food)? The Japanese have the similar: o-bon and the Brazilian: Finados.
Interested in learning about other cultures too? As an international organization, AIESEC connects you to the worldwide network and experience different cultures. Consider our Global Internship Programme and Global Community Development Programme for a chance to step out of your home country and live like a local in another community, a new culture. While we celebrate Halloween this coming Monday, let us also celebrate the diverse cultures across the globe.
By Gwendolyn Tian, Communications AIESEC UBC