Day of the Dead is a Catholic Holiday celebrated in Mexico on the first of November. This night is all about remembering your ancestors. Families visit cemeteries, bringing food and drink along with them. Graves are often decorated with flowers. The families even dedicate an alter to the deceased loved ones. Common foods are sugar skulls and coffins, and sweet rolls called "pan de muerto," and even candied pumpkin. In some parts of Mexico, some of the children even dress up and ask for candy, like trick-or-treating.
A beautifully decorated cemetery
|Skull shaped bread|
"Do you know what day it is?" I answered that it was the fourth of May. She shook her head as she said again: "Oh, yes! I know that, I know that! but do you know what day it is?" On my saying that I did not understand, she went on: "It is the eve of St. George's Day. Do you not know that tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway?" "
You might remember this quote if you've ever read Dracula. On the Eve of Saint George's Day, when Johnathan Harker was heading to the dreaded Borgo Pass, He was given this warning by one of the villagers.
In Romanian folklore, it is believed that this is the night when the witches are afoot. These witches gather in groups of twelve to fight over fertile land and control over rain. They believe that the witches steal cow's milk and crops, so farmers often watch over their livestock the whole night without falling asleep. People say that you can even hear the witches' singing their eerie songs. If you fall asleep this night, it's believed you will be tired for the rest of the year. As a tradition, people plant a tree this night. If it grows, then it is a gift from Saint George.
Guy Fawkes Night:
Whenever I think about Guy Fawkes night, my mind always wanders to V for Vendetta. This is one of my favorite movies in which the antihero wears a Guy Fawkes mask.
Guy Fawkes was an English Catholic. Since he was upset with the government not representing Catholics, he and a group of other men planned to assassinate King James I (by igniting massive amounts of gunpowder underneath parliament) in what's called The Gunpowder Plot. His intent was to restore Catholocism in the throne. Needless to say, this was a failed attempt. Guy Fawkes night celebrates the plot's failure by burning figures of Guy Fawkes upon bonfires and setting off fireworks.
|Guy Fawkes burning in effigy|
This Holiday is very similar to Halloween, and it is celebrated on April 30 or May 1 (Half Halloween). It's a Germanic holiday with pagan origin. Traditionally, it is believed that the veil between our world and the spirit world is thin. Germanic Folklore tells of sorcerers and witches all meeting up on this night, traditionally on Brocken Mountain. When the pagans converted, the holiday blended with Christian tradition, and the name of the holiday became Walpurgisnacht after Saint Walpurga. The original purpose of the holiday was to welcome Spring, but that purpose changed into driving out evil spirits
Traditional activities include song and dance, drinking, and bonfires. It's also not uncommon for young people to play pranks (like minor vandalism and hiding possessions).