As the season of ‘trick-or-treating’ approaches, you may find yourself wondering … is the tradition of Halloween a result from Western pop culture, or do other Asian countries reel in the celebration the same way?
Apart from the usual decorative pumpkins, scary costumes and spooktacular parties, below are some of the ways in which the freaky occasion is celebrated across Asian regions; namely China, Japan, Philippines and Thailand:
The month of October customarily carry little signs of the Halloween excitement, as only the major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou will fill its bars and restaurants with Halloween decor. Relatively a non-event for the locals, Chinese families by large do not practice ‘trick-or-treating’ for their kids, and rarely accustom themselves to the acts of stocking up candies and dressing up their homes with Halloween decorations.
Halloween celebrations in Japan have grown in popularity over the years, with shopping malls and theme parks embracing the custom with relevant spooky activities. However, this wasn’t traditionally the case and a significant amount of Japanese locals continued to steer away from this celebration. Viewing it as a disruption to those commuting when the occasion turns public trains into big parties, the locals who do participate in the Halloween parties make the most out of the occasion, using the opportunity to dress up in remarkable cosplay get-ups.
Halloween in the Philippines constitute a different significance compared to other Western countries. Celebrated from the eve of 31st October to 2nd November, the occasion exists as a tribute to the deceased loved ones, with the first and second day of November dedicated to graveyard visits. With the locals returning to their home provinces in a custom of candles, flowers and prayers, some Filipino families still adhere to the habitual Halloween activities, though majority treat the occasion in a solemn manner.
Naturally respectful of ghosts and spirits, Thais view these entities as guardian spirits and believe that it will anger the entities should Halloween celebrations take place. In light of this, the locals revel in the festivity of Loi Krathong, sailing paper rafts in lakes to pay respect to the goddess of water. The Halloween merriment still exists, however, within the touristy areas of Sukhumvit and Silom (Soi 4), where urban Thais party the occasion away with foreign tourists at the local night bars and restaurants.
Interested in having your own Halloween party this October? Drop by Cold Storage for more inspirations on fun snacks and party supplies!