There are many October celebrations that people all over the world enjoy. In the western world, the most well-known is probably Halloween. In the USA, Halloween is all about children dressings up and going around their neighborhoods asking for candy and saying, ‘trick or treat?’ It may seem like a silly tradition but the roots of the holiday go way back and many countries have their own spin on it.
1. Halloween: October Celebrations
All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween is a Christian-titled holiday that is often celebrated with traditions originating from a mixture of secular and Celtic pagan influences. Because it is such an old holiday, people celebrate it all over the world in different ways. In Ukraine, they celebrate Veles Night which is very similar to American Halloween. Ukrainians have been dressing up, giving out candy and celebrating this holiday since the 9th century! The god celebrated during this holiday is Veles – the god of art, music, poetry, beauty, talent, happiness and love.
In the Czech Republic, where I grew up, they celebrate Dusicky. Dusicky, meaning ‘little souls’ revolves around remembering and honoring deceased relatives. It Is actually celebrated on November 2nd, so I won’t get into it in this article. But it does prove that Halloween is one of the oldest holidays dating back centuries. It was actually made popular by the Celts and brought over to America by the Irish.
2. Dia de los Muertos: Oct 31st
Speaking of Halloween, Dia de los Muertos is sometimes considered the Mexican version of the holiday. It is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular the Central and South regions, and by people of Mexican heritage elsewhere. In English it is known as the Day of the Dead and on this day, people create altars to remember the dead. They also eat traditional dishes such as pan de muerto and sugar skulls which are also used as offers for the altars. Tamales and champurrado (thick hot chocolate) are also popular. As the name suggests, the day is all about remembering and celebrating relatives that are no longer with us.
3. Simchat Torah: Oct 10th
Simchat Torah or Simhat Torah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates and marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle. It is also called “Rejoicing with/of the Torah.” The main celebrations of Simchat Torah take place in the synagogue during evening and morning services. In Orthodox as well as many Conservative congregations, this is the only time of year on which the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark and read at night.
4. Navratri: Oct 17th
Navaratri is a Hindu festival that spans nine nights and is celebrated every year in the autumn. It is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian cultural sphere. Theoretically, there are four seasonal Navaratri. During this festival, the Goddess Durga is worshipped. Navratri means nine nights in Sanskrit and the full name of the holiday is Sharad Navratri.
5. Samhain: Oct 31st
Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. Traditionally, it is celebrated from 31 October to 1 November, as the Celtic day began and ended at sunset. This is about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. Over time, the pagan holiday Samhain and All Saints’/All Souls’ merged to create the modern Halloween. Historians have used the name ‘Samhain’ to refer to Gaelic ‘Halloween’ customs up until the 19th century.
6. Mid-Autumn Festival: Oct 1st
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated by Chinese and other people including in the “Sinosphere.” The day of the Mid-autumn Festival is traditionally thought to be auspicious for weddings, as the moon goddess is believed to extend conjugal bliss to couples. The festival started more than 2,000 years ago as a post-autumn harvest celebration, which was devoted to thanking the gods.
7. Milad un Nabi (Mawlid): Oct 29th
Mawlid or Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif is the observance of the birthday of Islamic prophet Muhammad which is commemorated in Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar. Mawlid is also known as Mawlid an-Nabawī (المولد النبوي), Eid-e-Milad un-Nabi, Havliye, Donba and Gani. It is celebrated by Sunni Muslims.
8. Gandhi Jayanti: Oct 2nd
Gandhi Jayanti is an event celebrated in India to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. It is celebrated annually on 2 October, and it is one of the three national holidays of India. Basically it just honours Mahatma Gandhi’s role in Indian Independence. The UN General Assembly announced on 15 June 2007 that it adopted a resolution which declared that 2 October will be celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence.
9. Columbus/Indigenous People’s Day: Oct 12th
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.
10. First day of Sukkot: Oct 2nd
Sukkot is celebrated by, first of all, building a sukkah. Jews are required to eat in the sukkah for eight days (seven days in Israel), and some even sleep in the sukkah for the duration of the holiday. Sukkot (Feast of Booths or Tabernacles) is one of the three biblically based pilgrimage holidays known as the shalosh regalim. Sukkot are hut-like structures that the Jews lived in during the 40 years of travel through the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt.
Summary: October Celebrations
October is all about pumpkins and spooky decorations in the USA. Personally, I love Halloween and all the festivities! Around the world people of various cultures and religions celebrate this month differently. I hope that this blog post helps bring the world a little closer together and show us that despite our differences, humans are all the same inside. We all like a good celebration, we just do it in our own unique way!
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