For those of you who are new to Halloween, it’s an annual holiday that derives from Old Irish, or Celtic, traditions. Although it originated among the Celts as a spiritual day honoring the deceased, for many Americans today, it has become a day celebrated by dressing up in costumes, collecting candy door-to-door by yelling “trick-or-treat,” carving pumpkins, and attending Halloween themed parties. Many students would say that the Halloween festivities on MSU’s campus and in the Lansing area are definitely some of the highlights of fall semester.
Although Halloween itself is celebrated more commonly in many North American and European countries, there are similar holidays to Halloween in other parts of the world.
In China, one holiday that resembles Halloween is a festival known as “Teng Chieh” that is celebrated on the night of the full moon following the Chinese New Year. In Hong Kong, it is known as “Yue Lan” (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours. Similarly, the Japanese celebrate the “Obon Festival” (also known as “Matsuri” or “Urabon”), a day believed by observers to be when the spirits of their ancestors return to their homes to reunite with their families. In Mexico, “Dia de los Muertos,” or Day of the Dead, is a day that celebrates and remembers those who have passed prepares special foods in honor of them.
As Halloween approaches, you’ll find that East Lansing is filled with holiday spirit. You won’t fail to see most stores and buildings decorated with lit up carved pumpkins called jack-o-lanterns and other spooky props. Happy Halloween!
Dena Elian is an International Relations Senior at MSU’s James Madison College. Currently, she is the Experiential Learning Intern at OISS. Her campus activities include involvement with organizations that promote Middle Eastern politics and Arab Culture.