From dressing up as gory characters, roaming around trick-or-treating, enjoying the candies, carving out Jack O’Lanterns, pulling pranks on friends and family and enjoying horror-themed parties, Halloween celebrations are filled with a lot of fun. For those who celebrate Halloween, it is a day to remember the dead. It is believed that for one day, the lines between the living and the dead world are blurred and the dead come to visit Earth. For thousands of years, the Halloween festival has been celebrated by people in the United States, Ireland, Canada, England, New Zealand, and Australia. However, with the widespread representation of Halloween in popular culture, the trend for the Halloween festival has spread to several other countries as well. While there are so many pre-existing festivals in the country, the craze of Halloween in India is slowly catching up.
History of Halloween
According to the Halloween origin story, the Celtics believed a thin line exists between the netherworld and the living world. The departed souls of ancestors are supposed to visit them on Halloween Day and communicate with them. The initial rituals were bringing in good food and good spirits to protect the crops and ward off evil spirits. However, over the years it has become more focused on Halloween costumes, pulling off pranks and more fun.
Even though not very much, Halloween in India is slowly becoming popular among teens, especially in urban areas.
Here are some reasons why Halloween is not celebrated popularly in India, yet
Desi Halloween Festivals Exist!
Yes, you read that right! There are a few Desi Halloween festivals that share an idea similar to the celebration of Halloween. However, the traditions and rituals differ. In India, the festivals are about honouring the departed souls and ancestors. They are remembered by offering prayers, charity, etc. Unlike the Western idea of Halloween, where the festival is more about ghosts and horror stories.
Desi Halloween Festivals include:
- Bhoot Chaturdashi
- Narak Chaturdashi
- Pitru Paksha
- Bada Badua Daka
- Gai Jatra, etc.
In these festivals, the dead ancestors are called upon to bless their living generations and ward off any bad omen. They are also honoured, rituals are carried out to free their souls and their sins are forgiven.
For those who celebrate Halloween, the gorier the costume, the more fun it is. From witches to vampires and skeletons, all kids and adults want to wear the scariest costume possible. But according to Indian values, dressing up as such characters is considered to be a bad omen for Halloween in India for kids as well as adults.
Instead, parents would put their kids into costumes representing successful professions like doctors, lawyers, police, firefighters, etc. This really does not sit tight with the theme of scary costumes for Halloween in India.
However, teens are holding horror-themed parties nowadays, especially in India’s metropolitan cities. Here they have the freedom to bring their best creative minds to work. Indians also have the advantage of mixing together Indian and Western aesthetics and putting together the best Halloween costumes.
Carving Jack O’Lanterns
One of the Halloween festival traditions is Jack O’Lanters. Huge vegetables, usually pumpkins are carved out and are lit up to resemble demonic faces. This might be a Halloween tradition for Westerners but it does not sit right with our Indian values. From our childhoods, we have been taught not to play with our food and not to waste it unnecessarily. This is another reason why the concept of Halloween has not sunk into Indian society yet.
Festive Period in India
Halloween In India and around the world on the 31st of October every year. The same period sees a rush of important religious festivals in India like Dussehra, Diwali, Christmas, etc. People are busy cleaning their houses, shopping for new clothes and home decor, making sweets and delicacies, preparing for pujas and spending time and spending time with friends and family. This makes it almost impossible for people to make time to celebrate yet another festival frivolously.
This does not mean that we Indians are completely oblivious to the idea of Halloween. Halloween in India is slowly finding its place. You can see schools organising Halloween Day functions. Students come up dressed nicely according to the theme followed by activities like spooky story-telling or painting. Restaurants and clubs also host themed parties serving Halloween special dishes. These celebrations are supposed to be fun, engaging and educating.
Halloween in India does not necessarily need to replace other celebrations but rather integrate into the existing Indian traditions.
Celebrating Halloween does not have to be all horror and spooky activities. The best way to enjoy any festival is by getting together with your family and friends. What better than a rejuvenating vacation to get into the holiday spirit? Explore the lengths and breadths of India with our affordable India Tour Packages. Book your cheap flight tickets and accommodation in advance to avoid the holiday rush. At this time of the year, the entire world is glistening in the holiday spirit. So if you can spare enough days, then you should definitely look forward to some short and cheap foreign trips from India with our affordable International Tour Packages.
More On Festivals:
- Friendship Monuments Around the World: Places that Signify Friendship
- Our Top 10 Picks To Witness The New Year Celebrations In India
- Christmas Traditions Around The World
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