Halloween is here in Taiwan!

The minor holidays make it all round the world in one form or the other. Halloween and Thanksgiving are two I can name for starters. The latter me and the Wife don’t celebrate but take it as a rare opportunity to eat a hearty dinner and get some Turkey that isn’t Chinese style.

Halloween in Taiwan is fully enbraced. Sure some of it is for commercial reasons.  But that said,  a lot  of it is to add a little light hearted fun to the month. Schools have costume days, pubs have theme nights and even the tv networks show a glut of horror flicks.  I think the popularity of Halloween in Taiwan has spread from the American love of it,  and given America has a deep foot in Taiwan culture it could have spread that way. That said Halloween has a Celtic and British connection :

Origin of name

The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even (“evening”), that is, the night before All Hallows Day.[5] Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English (ealra hālgena mæssedæg, mass-day of all saints), All-Hallows-Even is itself not attested until 1556

Not a definitive answer but it seems more like to be English. Thanks to Wikipedia for that.

As a kid Halloween was an excuse to go around the neighbours houses and beg for money and candy….in an innocent manner of course. The older I got the less significance it had other than maybe a theme night in a bar. I do remember one stark day at Uni in which a bunch of 15 year olds approached me on my driveway and one said ‘Give me a pound’ with a gruff manner and held out his hand. I was astounded and couldn’t put into words how wrong this kid had got the idea of Halloween . His age aside he didn’t even sugar coat the question ( pardon the pun) , suffice to say ignored him.

But back to Asia. Now when I pass the Buxiban’s in the street ( after schools) I see a plethora of decorations. I pass 7-11’s with orange decort , and I find myself being invited via Facebook and e-mail to an annual overly expensive party at the Brass Monkey and Carnegies! Halloween here seems to be done for the whole month but mainly enjoyed by schools over normal people. I never for example here people say to one another in the street ‘happy halloween!’ Yet in schools the talk is all about the 31st. Perhaps it’s akin to Harvest Festival. As a lad I remember it being  a big time of the year. Singing songs , collecting old cans of soup no one wanted for the local oldies. Yet not mentioned outside of those four walls. So I will embrace Taiwan’s minor love of Halloween and wish every kid I see later ‘happy Halloween’, and on Saturday at the Taiwan beer factory I’ll raise a glass to the honoured orange pumpkin based holiday!

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~ by richardpmurfin on October 27, 2011.

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