Tag Archives: Halloween

Halloween Round-up

It’s finally here!

Whether you’ve had your costume ready for months or are still scrambling to put something together, the big day has arrived.

Hopefully, you and your family will have a safe and happy Halloween.

While you’re digesting your Halloween candy, you might like to read some past KidCulture posts about Halloween.

From learning about the cultural origins of Halloween where it is celebrated around the world to learning about some Halloween-themed kids’ books you might like to read, there’s still plenty to learn about the holiday.

Halloween Celebrations Around the World

Halloween Book List

Most Popular Candies Around the World

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Superstitions Around the World

At Halloween, it’s fun to explore the things we don’t understand and examine the steps we take to control the things that just can’t be controlled. For example:

When you spill salt, do you throw a pinch over your left shoulder for good luck?

Do you believe black cats are unlucky?

Do you think that if you break a mirror, you’ll have bad luck for seven years?

Do you avoid the number 13?

These are all superstitions with which most Americans are familiar.

Even if we don’t believe in them, we pass this information on to our children because it’s part of our collective cultural heritage. We feel they should be aware of these beliefs.

But what other superstitions do people believe around the world? How are they different? Here’s a brief look at superstitions around the world to help you understand other cultures.

The Spooky Numbers 4 and 17

In Japan, it’s the number 4, not 13, that makes hearts race. In Italy, it’s the number 17. In these cultures, many hotels and hospitals avoid using these numbers to prevent their guests and patients from unnecessary pessimism. Of course, these buildings still have fourth and seventeenth floors, they just aren’t listed as such.

The Broken Dish

In the Netherlands, a broken dish is believed to bring bad luck in much the same way a broken mirror does.

More About Cats

In the Netherlands, private matters should not be discussed when a cat is in the room. People believe that cats are untrustworthy and spread gossip.

Tuesday

Tuesdays hold a special place in superstition. Tuesday the 13th is considered a particularly bad-luck day in many cultures in much the same way that Friday the 13th is bad luck to many Americans. In India, you cannot get a hair cut on Tuesdays because it’s believed to bring bad luck.

Bad Dreams

In Romania, if you dream about dark water or that you are carrying a newborn baby in your arms, you can expect bad luck. In China, dreaming about teeth or snow means that your parents have died.

More About Mirrors

If you thought breaking a mirror was bad, then you definitely do not want to place a mirror anywhere near the foot of your bed. If you do, Italians believe it permits the devil to watch you sleep. And if you wake up in the night and catch a glimpse of your reflection in that mirror, it means that evil owns you.

Watch Out For the Evil Eye

Many cultures believe in the evil eye which brings big-time bad luck. In Guatemala, parents can protect their children from the evil eye by dressing the kids in red; even a red bracelet will help.

Don’t Get Swept Away

In Venezuela, some people believe that if someone pushes a broom over your feet while they are sweeping, they also sweep away your chances of ever getting married. In many parts of Africa, you are never supposed to sweep your house at night. It is believed that you will sweep your good luck away.

Respect the Moon

In China, if you point to the moon with your finger the tips of your ears will fall off.

Whether or not you’re superstitious, it’s good to be aware – and respectful – of other people’s beliefs. When you visit people in their homes or travel to different countries, you need to respect these beliefs in order to be a considerate guest.

 

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The Festival of Purim

EstherPurim has been described as a Jewish mash-up of Halloween and Mardi Gras. The story of Purim is well-known to readers of the Old Testament. The Book of Esther tells how Esther, the Jewish wife of a Persian king, saved the Jewish people from the plot of an evil advisor to the king, named Haman. 

Haman had a grudge against Mordecai, who happened to be Esther’s cousin. Haman convinced the king to send out a decree that called on the rest of the kingdom to kill all the Jewish people. This decree would have included Esther but the king did not know she was Jewish.

Esther – knowing that the fickle king could easily have her killed – asked the Jewish people to fast for three days and then she went to the king and informed him that she was Jewish and that Mordecai was her cousin.

The king promised to give her anything she wanted. Haman was hanged for his evil plan and Mordecai became the king’s advisor in his place. Although it was too late to rescind the order to have the Jewish people killed, Mordecai amended the order so that the Jewish people could defend themselves. The following day the Jewish people celebrated and it is this celebration that is known today as Purim.

Jewish people typically observe Purim by publicly reading the story from the Book of Esther, giving to the poor, and sharing food. Some people produce plays, dress up in costumes, hold beauty contests, and have parades.

One popular food on Purim is a cookie called hamantaschen. It is translated to mean “Haman’s pockets” or “Haman’s ears,” and their triangle shape is said to mimic Haman’s triangle hat. Check back tomorrow for a post on this awesome – and fun – cookie.

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The Most Popular Candy in the World

M&Ms

M&Ms

Reese’s peanut butter cups, Sweettarts, Smarties: these were the candies I traded for on Halloween night. But remarkably, none of these holds the official title of “the most popular candy in the world.”

stead, that distinction belongs to M&Ms. I kid you not.

Personally, M&Ms don’t even make my top ten list, but apparently, I have been outvoted by a majority of the 6.8 billion people on the planet (assuming they all voted). According to BusinessWeek, M&Ms lead all the candies in the world.

However, I find something to be desired in the rigorousness of their research. Hall’s – which we know in the U.S. is a cough drop – also made the list for their incredible popularity in Thailand where not even this ad campaign, where people fly out of a young man’s nose, could diminish the drop’s popularity.

Thailand's favorite candy
Thailand’s favorite candy

So chew on that this Halloween.

 

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Get Your Tricks, Tips for Fun Halloween

Did you know that Halloween originated as a Celtic holiday? Or that people in Germany hide their knives on Halloween night because they believe that it’s the one night of the year when ghosts return to earth? Do you know why Halloween’s traditional colors are black (for the darkness of the night) and orange (for the bonfires that are traditionally lit throughout Europe)?

With just weeks to go, Halloween madness has struck – and not just children! Halloween has become a multi-million dollar industry and is enjoying increasing popularity among adults. Too mature for trick-or-treating, grown-ups are hosting Halloween parties that offer a new take on traditional autumn foods – and giving them a ghostly twist or two!

For some ideas on what to serve at your Halloween party, check out the new e-book from www.CookingClarified.com. “Tricks and Treats: Recipes & Tips for a Delicious Halloween” is available as a free download. Just provide an email address and get lots of ideas (and even more history about Halloween past and present).

My favorite recipe is probably the Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, although the tips on caramel sauce were a close second.

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