Worldwide Celebrations for the Dead

Festivals of the dead around the world| AXA Travel Insurance

We know that Halloween in the United States or Day of the Dead in Mexico, are the most popular and well-known celebrations on these dates, their fame over the years has inspired thousands of movies, series and tourists who travel to representative sites to experience these celebrations more closely.

We know that we are still in pandemic times, so probably traveling to different cities or even countries to see the celebrations, and how they remember the dead in other cultures can be complicated, that is why we decided this time to tell you about how there are different destinations that have related traditions and are just as interesting as the most famous ones.

Just to give an introduction let's talk about Halloween, most people consider it a holiday of all America, but do you really know its origin? To begin with, the word comes from a short form of the English All Hallow's Eve, which means "All Saints' Eve", that is why it is celebrated on October 31st and it is actually a celebration with Celtic roots (Ireland) from more than 3000 years ago that was called Samhain.


The Mexican government describes the Day of the Dead as "a celebration of memory and a ritual that privileges remembrance over forgetting". This celebration has pre-Hispanic origins, and revolves around the idea that the souls of the dead return home to the world of the living to be nourished by the food placed in the offerings where they are remembered. This celebration is held on November 1st and 2nd, the most special thing is that the celebration actually varies in each state of the country, however, they all have the same principle.


As mentioned before, this is a Celtic origin celebration that is still very popular in England, Ireland and Scotland, which is held on October 31st and November 1st. The Celts considered that on those dates the spirits of the dead returned, so they had to leave food, sweets, candles and roads to help the souls of the dead find their way to the light. Some also consider this tradition as the "Celtic New Year".


This festival is considered one of the most representative of Taiwan, although it is also possible to enjoy it in some places in China; it is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, and in this celebration it is believed that the doors of hell open and let out all the spirits that were ignored by the prayers, so they have to be fed through various celebrations such as parades, fireworks and burning of offerings.


This celebration has a Buddhist origin, it lasts approximately 3 days and it takes place in the middle of August. In this celebration the Japanese clean their houses, visit and arrange the tombs of their deceased, practice dances and place offerings where they put food and drinks; the vegetables, sake, rice, cucumbers and eggplants are very important, for example, the cucumber symbolizes a horse that will help the souls to return faster, and the eggplant represents a cow, which will be the one that will help them return to the beyond when the celebrations are over.


We finish with this celebration that is usually a bit disturbing for some people, since it consists of a special ritual that Bolivians do with the skulls of their deceased every November 8. The celebration consists of going to the main cemetery, taking out the skulls and decorating them with flowers, ornaments, hats, glasses or things representative of the deceased, placing them in boxes and making an offering to them with food and drink.

This celebration is done with the belief that the skulls of the deceased have miraculous powers that will help protect and bring abundance to the families.

All forms of celebrating our deceased are important no matter what culture they come from, so that we can remember them and honor their lives even when they are no longer present. At AXA we celebrate and support the cultural traditions of all countries, so we go with you to celebrate together in every corner of the world.

Disclaimer: Welcome to the AXA Assistance USA Travel Insurance Blog! The Travel on Blog is intended to provide you with entertaining and educational information of a general nature. The articles are for editorial purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified professional. Please contact AXA Assistance USA if you have any questions.

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