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IN Wierd ON 18 Oct, 2015
Did you know that Halloween started out as a festival of the dead? Yes, you read it right! You might very well find it quite difficult to stomach, but several cultures around the world have numerous rituals that celebrate the dead, and death itself. It, of course, makes sense because death is after all a part of life, and it's only reasonable to set aside a day to honour the dead.
This is a colorful celebration of the dead. On this night, families gather to clean and decorate the graves of their loved ones. It's also known for its skeleton decorations, candies, and elaborate costumes.
This is the way the Mah Meri tribe in Malaysia, who make up a small minority of the country's population, celebrate their dead. It's a day of dancing that's steeped in tradition. Shamans offer blessings before the ceremonies begin.
This is is a three-day harvest festival. But Koreans also use this time every year to honor their dead. Each year, about 30 million people in Korea visit the hometowns of their ancestors to pay homage. People pray, clean the tombs of their immediate ancestors, and offer them food and drink.
On this day, Hindu people honor their ancestors as far as seven generations back! They begin by bathing in sacred ponds and rivers, and continue by offering prayers and food to their ancestors as they return from the afterlife for the night to feast.
This is a 500-year-old ritual of Buddhists. On this day, families gather to clean and decorate the graves of their loved ones, and then release lanterns to help guide their spirits. The holiday also features a traditional dance.
As much badass the name is, it is also a really long festival. It goes on for an entire month! In traditional belief, the seventh month of the lunar calendar is the time when spirits roam the Earth. To appease these ghosts, people burn offerings for them and leave out food.
This is one of the most important festivals in Khmer culture. People visit their local temples to pray and make offerings to the dead. Afterwards, everyone celebrates with buffalo races and wrestling.
The people of Bali believe that this is the night their ancestors revisit their homes. And they're looking to be welcomed and entertained, or else they'll haunt the place! To keep that from happening, huge feasts are prepared in their honor.
Gai Jatra is a festival that honors cows, but it also serves as a time to honor the dead. Talk about irony! Anyway, in this festival, cows are paraded through the streets of Kathmandu - as are children dressed up as cows. The parade is believed to help guide spirits into the afterlife.
This one does not really qualify as a festival of the dead, but it still does quite close to it in view of the celebration pattern. It is celebrate on November 5, the anniversary of when Guy Fawkes tried (and failed) to blow up Parliament. He's burned in effigy while people parade around wearing masks.