Celebrate – Beginning October 30th
The end of October begins a flurry excitement and celebration. Will you take in all three festivities? Or pick and choose which event appeals to you the most? Whatever you choose, its bound to be fun and you are sure to learn something new.
- Sunday, October 30 is the beginning of the five-day celebration of Diwali / Deepavali
- Monday, October 31st is All Hallows’ Eve(ning) or what we commonly refer to as Hallowe’en
- Midnight Monday, October 31st through November 1st & 2nd – the Mexican holiday – Days of the Dead
Diwali / Deepavali – October 30th
Diwali is all about color, lights, dancing, family get-togethers, and, yes – food! The most common of all of the food options tends to be the sharing of Indian Sweets. These are given as gifts along with dried fruit and other offerings during the five-day Festival of Lights.
Diwali means from darkness unto light….
Although Diwali or Deepavali is one of the most prominent and famous festivals of India, the merrymaking also takes place in of locations where there are significant Indian populations throughout the world. In particular, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore have designated Diwali as a National Holiday.
Traditionally thought to be a Hindu holiday, Diwali is celebrated mostly in Northern India with Deepavali in the South. No one misses out on the fun. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains all observe various customs related to Diwali. The tradition shares a message of hope and peace. It transcends all borders and faiths. It is a time that brings the community together and celebrates diversity within Indian society.
Diwali marks the beginning of the New Year – the 15th day of the month of Kartika in the Hindu calendar. Families scrub and redecorate their homes and dress up in new clothes to celebrate the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
May this Diwali light up new dreams, Fresh hopes, everything bright & beautiful and fill your days with surprises.
Happy Diwali 2016!
Halloween / Hallowe’en – October 31st
Halloween is actually a shortened version of the Old English term “All Hallows’ Even” which is the eve of All Hallows’ Day. Over time, Halloween evolved into a community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating.
Traditions have always played a big part in what defines any holiday and Halloween is no exception. There are special events and parties with Halloween inspired food, decorations, games, pranks and fireworks. The custom of dressing up in costume is the norm. Costumes can be rather elaborate, comical or topical at best. For kids, the richest tradition of all may be the actual ‘trick or treating’. This involves dressing up and exploring the neighborhood with a cry of “Trick or Treat” and/or “Halloween Apples”. The reward is a handout of candy, chocolate or other goodies collected in a sack or old pillow case.
Every October, pumpkins are crowding the shelves of grocery stores and ‘pumpkin patches’ begin to appear. Carving pumpkins is a family affair that leads to the proud display of jack-o’-lanterns in windows and on doorsteps, porches, and stoops. Jack-o-Lanterns are now a standard seasonal decoration for Halloween.
On October 2005, the world’s largest jack-o’-lantern was carved in Pennsylvania and weighed 1,469 lb (666.33 kg). That was huge, but The Guinness Word Book of Records lists the heaviest pumpkin grown in Switzerland in 2014 weighing 1,054 kg (2,323 lb). 9 things you can carve for Halloween that aren’t pumpkins
Halloween has exploded into a multi-billion-dollar, global, annual celebration for all ages. Although it has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic, and superstition, today we add to the list Big Business. Approximately ¼ of all candy sold annually is purchased for Halloween.
Pop-up Halloween stores are on the rise and traditional retailers have also expanded their offerings for the month of October. Canadian Tire, as an example, reports that Halloween sales now represent the third most important seasonal category behind Christmas and summer backyard living.
Retailer Value Village conducted a survey in 2011 and found that the average Canadian planned to spend $300 on the holiday. Not surprisingly, pet owners planned to spend on average an extra $59 so their fur family members can also participate.
Days of the Dead / Dia de los Muertos – Midnight, October 31st
Days of the Dead may follow Halloween, but the tone couldn’t be more different. Although marked throughout Latin America, Dia de los Muertos is most strongly associated with Mexico. Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness.
In Mexico, where the tradition originated, Days of the Dead is a very important holiday celebrated for two days. The Mexican people believe that the gates of heaven open at midnight on October 31st. November 1 is the day to honor angelitos (spirits of dead children and infants). November 2 is the day for respecting deceased adults – a true celebration of life.
Days of the Dead recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up. The dead continue to be a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones.
Days of the Dead is also recognized and observed by people of Mexican ancestry living in other places, especially the United States. Festivities and rituals, including spectacular parades of skeletons and ghouls, are varied and colorful.
The Mexicans build private altars adding favorite foods, beverages, photos, memorabilia, sugar skulls, tissue paper decorations, masks, fruit, nuts, incense, and marigolds (flower of the holiday). “Pan de muerto” (a special sweet bread made with orange peel and anise) is baked with small strips of dough on the top to simulate bones and placed on the altar.
Sometimes celebrations can take on a humorous tone rejoicing in funny events and anecdotes about the departed. In 2008 Days of the Dead was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero