HALLOWEEN IN GREECE

Halloween

Halloween, also referred to as All Hallow’s Eve, is a celebration that is observed throughout the world in some form or another. There is some controversy as to the origins of this holiday, but some believe that it has pagan roots.

For the most part, the United States is the biggest observer of Halloween, but countries throughout the world have adopted some of the traditions and customs associated with it.

If you find yourself in Greece during Halloween, which is traditionally observed on October 31st, you may be wondering if Greeks observe it at all. Here’s a look at the relationship the Greek people have with this holiday:

Brief History of Halloween

For the most part, Greeks actually don’t observe Halloween in the same way that people in the United States and other parts of the world do.

As mentioned above, there is some controversy as to the actual origins of the holiday, but there are those who believe it was derived from a Celtic festival known as Samhain.

There are others who believe that it was then Christianised because All Saint’s Day day for many Christian denominations is November 1, which would make October 31 All Saint’s Eve, or All Hallow’s Eve (another name for Halloween). All Saints Day in Greece, however, is observed on December 16th.

Ancient Greece gave us spectacle, drama, and perhaps the world's first ghost story when the Roman author Pliny the Younger wrote about the spectre of an old man with a long beard haunting his house in Athens in the first century A.D.

But modern Greeks never really embraced Halloween like much of the Western world has taken to the holiday.

A Greek belief that the souls of good people reside in paradise for eternity and return to Earth for one day each year may have morphed into the Christian All Saints Day celebrated on November 1, becoming the precursor to Halloween.

Other accounts attribute the holiday's origins to the Celtic festival of Samhain, when people wore costumes to scare off ghosts on the night before the new year began on November 1.

In modern Athens, bars use the popular holiday as a reason to throw lively costume parties replete with ghoulish decorations and themed menus, but the modern North American tradition of trick-or-treating really only takes place among expats who organise Halloween events for their children.

Do Greeks Celebrate Halloween?

The question is, do Greeks actually celebrate Halloween? Most people around the world know that it is a day that is observed and celebrated in the United States.

Expats who moved to Greece and also the tourists from the United States and other countries that observe Halloween brought some of their traditions to Greece.

As a result of this, it is possible to find Halloween parties throughout Greece, but most of these are geared towards expats, tourists, and any Greeks who are simply curious about the traditions. The Greek people don’t traditionally celebrate it.

- tikka," which is the smoke that comes from the roast, with its aroma, will make the area smell good. Since the Great Lent is a long period of fasting and mourning, the three weeks of Apokries are filled with dinner gatherings and good times between family and friends.

A celebration that we must note is the Psihosavata (Ψυχοσάββατα which means the Saturdays for the souls). They are the days that the Orthodox Church and every Orthodox Greek remember their dead. Psihosavata is the last two Saturdays of Apokries and the first Saturday of the Great Lent.

After the last Sunday of Apokries is the first day of Lent. The day is called "Καθαρή Δευτέρα" which literally means "Clean Monday".

In conclusion, the Greek people don’t actually celebrate Halloween. The Halloween parties that take place in Greece are mostly geared towards expats and tourists.

However, Greeks do have a festival known as Apokries that takes place during “Carnival” which is often referred to as the “Greek Halloween”.

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