Everyone knows Halloween, the one day a year where we all get the chance to dress up as anyone or anything that we want; gorging ourselves with all of the sweets and chocolates that we gained from Trick or Treating.
However, the holiday’ origin has its founding in much more of a spiritual root, and the same can be said for many other celebrations found all around the world; all about commemorating those who have passed.
Celebrations Around The World
Halloween is a holiday that is celebrated all around the world and has its origins cited from over 2,000 years ago from the Celtic celebration of Samhain.
All around the world, people of various cultures, beliefs and traditions have a time within the year where they get the chance to celebrate their own belief all to do with commemorating those who have passed.
Below is just a small selection of these various celebrations from all over the world.
Dia De Los Muertos
The DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS (or more commonly known as Day of the Dead) is celebrated from November 1st to 2nd in Mexico as well as parts of Latin America. It is celebrated in order to honour those who have passed away; it is believed that the Gates of Heaven open up at midnight on October 31st.
OBON is an annual Buddhist event celebrated in Japan which is for commemorating one’s ancestors. It is believed that each year during Obon, the ancestor’s spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives. Some common traditions are: lanterns hung in front of houses to guide the spirits, Obon dances (bon odori). At the end of the celebration, floating lanterns are put into bodies of water in order to guide the spirits back to their world. Obon is typically observed around August 13th to 16th but due to the lunar calendar it has also been celebrated in mid July.
The Hungry Ghost Festival
The HUNGRY GHOST FESTIVAL is a Chinese celebration which takes place around mid August to mid September. The festival is a way to “feed” those spirits which have become restless and have begun to roam the world. Feeding typically consists of both food and money which they need for the afterlife. Some other traditional activities are attending a Chinese opera in order to praise the gods and to delight the roaming ghosts.
There are countless other celebrations of similar spiritual significance from all around the world, and if the topic interests you (as it did me whilst researching for this blog post), then I really recommend heading to this page created by History.com and taking a look.
Halloween in Primary Schools
In the UK, celebrating Halloween is one of the highlights of most young peoples time at school; going in to school during Halloween, getting dressed up in your best costume, attending the school Halloween disco, making plans with your friends for after school and going Trick or Treating. Halloween is a great time for a child’ imagination to truly be let free.
There are countless ways in which to invigorate your lesson plans with a Halloween twist.
The single best way to grab your class’ attention is to capture their imagination, and what better way to do that than with some science experiments. Chemical reactions, optical illusions, static trickery, sound experiments- just some of the endless fun you can have. Here and here are a couple of blogs which I’ve personally picked out which list many Halloween inspired science experiments.
Running a class or school-wide costume contest is a great way to get people into the spirit of the day. Have a look at some of these schools and what their kids came up with for their costumes:
Take some inspiration from some of these board displays that teachers across the country have made (as a book worm myself, i’m particularly fond of the bookshelf display).
Another great way to get the creative juices flowing is by having a creative writing contest for the best short, spooky story. Create some prompts for your class to make use of during the lesson, have the prompts separated into groups by writing ability and see who can write the best or scariest short story within a certain time. At the end, have the class vote on who’s is best within each level. This means that as well as promoting healthy competition, it allows for students of varying levels to have a fair chance at winning within their own level of writing.
I hope that this blog has given you some inspiration. Tell us in the comments below how you helped your school celebrate Halloween (they might be added into the topic calendar).