It’s October and all the pumpkins and ghosts have been appearing in the shops in England. And while those things can be found in Dutch stores as well, people don’t actually celebrate Halloween. And they have definitely never heard of Bonfire Night. So I thought it would be fun to give a quick overview of these two British autumn traditions and where they originated.
Halloween is also known as All Saints’ Eve and is celebrated in the UK and other countries around the world on 31 October. It has its roots in the Christian church and is a period to remember the dead. In recent years, it’s turned into a very commercial festival. Last year was my first time celebrating Halloween by going trick or treating with the kids. This year, I won’t be doing that. I did, however, get an awesome Halloween costume. Might go out with some friends so I have a good reason to wear it.
Some things that are part of Halloween:
- Trick or treating
- Apple bobbing
The name of a game often played at Halloween parties. Apples are put in a tub or basin with water and people have to try to take one out using only their teeth.
- Pumpkin carving
Carving a face in the front of the pumpkin and putting a candle inside was traditionally done to frighten evil spirits away. Now, people mostly do it for fun. If you go on Pinterest you can find really awesome designs!
- Dressing up
One of the things children love most about Halloween. They dress up as witches, wizards, cats, fairies, pumpkins and more.
After Halloween, it’s only a few days before Guy Fawkes’ Night. Around the 5th of November, there are bonfires everywhere as well as firework displays. Guy Fawkes’ Night is also known as bonfire night. People remember Guy Fawkes failed attempt to blow up the British Houses of Parliament in 1605. Because the plot was foiled, King James I was saved and people celebrated by lighting bonfires across London. This led to the parliament creating an act that designated 5th of November as an annual day for the British people to give five thanks for the plot’s failure.
Does your country have a particular autumn tradition that other countries don’t have?