Image courtersy of Panoramio on tresbohemes.com
Experiencing Halloween in my country has been very different from what I expected it to be like in England. Some could say that Czech Halloween is uneventful in comparison to the English one. The reason why is mainly because it is not our traditional holiday and many people believe that this event is merely a ‘fashion tradition’ or an imitation of Western culture.
A Day of the Dead
Czech ‘Halloween’ is not celebrated on October 31st, but the 2nd November. We call it ‘Dušičky’, and we celebrate this day by visiting the graveyards and decorating the graves of our deceased relatives with flowers and candles. Isn’t that, after all, the original purpose of Halloween? You may think it’s crazy, that Halloween without costumes and trick-or-treating, is not a Halloween worth having. In the Czech Republic, there is a unique atmosphere. A sombre mood felt by almost everyone, emphasised by the nostalgia brought by the autumn fog and falling leaves. It signals the end of summer fun and is actually rather sad. My family has been going to the graveyard on that day since I was little. Unfortunately, I will not be able to accompany my family this year, as I am living in England. But even from here, I will be remembering my loved ones that passed away, which is the most important aspect of our tradition.
The 31st of October is coming and as a person who has never experienced it here before, I cannot wait! Although Dušičky remains a close place in my heart, I have nothing against foreign customs and I am excited to experience Halloween celebrations here in England for the first time. After all, Halloween and Dušičky have the same roots. We just celebrate it differently. Even though Halloween is originally American, it seems to be very popular among English people and that is why I’m expecting people dressed up in costumes, scary film binges, themed events, and Halloween parties. And I plan to experience as much of it as I can; my boyfriend and I are planning to get matching costumes for a party and we’ll also have a quiet night in watching scary movies.
Halloween goes commercial
Despite having our own traditions, people in the Czech Republic people are warming up to the Western concept of Halloween. This year, in the Czech Republic, you will probably see plenty of decorations, shops selling costumes, and other Halloween novelties. The older generation haven’t quite warmed up to this version of Halloween yet and will typically only tolerate it for the sake of the children. Others use it as an excuse to get drunk and celebrate. I think people enjoy the idea of dressing up in costumes, having fun with their friends, and other traditions that come with celebrating Halloween. It is for this reason alone that Halloween is slowly becoming increasingly popular in my country.
Frankly, Halloween celebrations are much more cheerful than the Czech Day of the Dead, which is why I am hoping to do a combination of both this year.