Between Saints Day and Halloween, the All Saints holiday is the time to celebrate death.
Often perceived as a ceremony filled with sadness in France, the celebration of the deceased turns out to be different depending on the culture. Babbel, the premium language learning platform, which also offers courses related to cultures and traditions on Babbel Live, is interested in 4 celebrations of death in 4 countries on the occasion of Halloween.
“Studying the traditions around death in different cultures says a lot about how cultures approach the end of life. They serve to convey cultural and social values and collective memory – and are therefore widely used in language teaching and learning. » explains Malcolm Massey, French teacher for Babbel Live.
Dià de los muertos in MexicoKnown as the Dià de los muertos, the Day of the Dead in Mexico is considered the most important traditional holiday in the country. This celebration has been listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2003. The Dià de los muertos is celebrated over 2 days, from 1er to November 2. 1er November is dedicated to deceased children, called “?angelitos?” meaning little angels in Spanish, while November 2 is dedicated to missing adults.
To pay homage to the deceased, Mexicans practice a ritual based on two important actions:
The offerings, with mainly the seasonal flower, the ” cempoalxuchitl”, called “marigold” in French. This is placed on the altars or on the tombs. Then come the parades, events and shows, where the population sings, dances, eats sweets such as “?calaveras?”which are skull-shaped candies.
The Dià de los muertos brings together two emblematic figures specific to Mexico: Santa Catrinafemale skeleton adorned with a large hat and an elegant long dress, representing universal death and Santa Muertea skeleton with dark and macabre clothes is the equivalent of the Grim Reaper.
Gai Jatra in Nepal
In Nepal, the feast of the dead is synonymous with the feast of the cows, a sacred animal, Gay Jatra. It is celebrated in the month of Bahdra (in August and September). During the celebration of Gay Jatra, anyone with a deceased must lead a cow during the procession. However, many families do not have the means to buy a cow, so they dress one of their children in a cow mask, and these children walk in the procession instead of the animal.
Gay Jatra is a great celebration full of joy. Once the procession is over, the rest of the day is filled with street performances, dancing, plays and comedy shows. The population dresses up, the streets are adorned with decorations, thus making the day more beautiful.
Ghost Festivals in China
The Chinese celebrate their dead on the 15thth day of 7th lunar month, that is to say around the month of August. called ghost party, it signifies the return to earth of spirits stuck in hell or of people who died violently, thus coming to mingle with the living.
The population offers “?pudus?”, that is, traditional banquets, as well as ceremonies for the dead to find peace. The evening of ghost partythem modest take place in front of the temples where lanterns are also hung to invite ghosts to join the living. Offerings and talismans are placed on each table by the inhabitants. To end the celebration, a monk performs the dance of Zhongkuia demon hunter god responsible for driving away ghosts so that none of them remain in the world of the living after the ceremony.
Halloween in the USA
Halloweena Celtic festival of Irish origin, arrived in the United States on the 19th century. Originally the symbol ofHalloween was the turnip, which comes from the legend of jack-o’-lantern condemned to wander for eternity in the darkness between hell and paradise by lighting up a lantern, composed of a brand placed in a carved turnip.? But the Americans have modified some traditions, and the symbol became the pumpkin, and thus gave the emblematic color of d’Halloweenthe Orange.
This celebration has become an emblematic holiday of the United States, it is also celebrated in the Anglo-Saxon European countries, where it has its origin. On Halloween day, which takes place on October 31, streets and houses are decorated and children walk around at night dressed as ghosts, witches and other typical creatures, in search of treats. They ring the doorbells of the neighborhood shouting “Trick or Treat”, which means “trick or treat”.
The term Halloween is itself a contraction of All Hallows’ evening which translates into French as “the eve of All Saints’ Day”.
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