Read about the origin, history and celebration of Halloween in Germany.
Fundoo Times: Festivals: Halloween: Halloween in Germany

Halloween in Germany

Origin and History of Halloween in Germany

Halloween has its origin from the pre-historic ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. According to Celtic calendar the year ended on October 31st, on the eve of Samhain. It was celebrated with religious customs and traditions. Samhain was observed both as the festival of dead and the period for collecting the food for the approaching harsh winter. With the popularity of Christianity, the church tried to remove the Samhain festival completely and thus replaced it forever with the Hallowmass or the All Saints’ Day on November 1st. This day was observed to honor the souls of saints who worked for the welfare of Christianity. The evening before All Saints’ Day i.e. October 31st is observed as All Hallows Eve which eventually got shortened to Halloween.

Local name: Halloween

Ways to celeberate Halloween in Germany

Although Halloween is not a traditional German celebration, with globalization it gained popularity. Now it is common to see the jack-o’lanterns or pumpkin lanterns displayed in every home. As part of the tradition Germans keep the knives away to ensure that they don’t hurt the returning spirits. Although the famous Halloween game ‘trick or treat’ was not so popular in Germany, it is slowly gaining recognition over a period of time. In this game people dress up in scary costumes and go from house to house demanding for food. Tricks are played upon the neighbors if the visitors don’t get what they want. The Halloween description in movies and on televisions has made these games and traditions popular. In some parts of Southern Germany such as Austria and Bavaria, Catholics celebrate the period between October 30th and November 8th as the All Souls’ Week. During this period churches organize special prayer services for the dead souls. Traditions and customs associated with Halloween might vary throughout Germany, but the zeal behind the celebrations remain same everywhere.