"Halloween" Traditions Around Booth

By Israel Rojas-Moreno '16

Israel Rojas-Moreno '16

Israel Rojas-Moreno '16

If the Belgian Halloween Party doesn’t rocket Booth to #1 party school in the country, nothing will. Just how did the Belgians get involved with the Halloween Party? This thought also prompted ChiBus to find out how other cultures celebrate their dearly departed. ChiBus spoke to Boothies to find out and discovered some excellent traditions (all stories paraphrased).

Origins of a (Belgian) Party

This year, Booth is home to only one Belgian student. However, it used to be that Booth partnered with the University of Leuven in Belgium that averaged 15 exchange students. The Belgian students founded a Belgium group for themselves before deciding “the more the merrier.” Wanting to make the club more popular, they combined the most treasured of American holidays (Halloween) with the most treasured of Belgian tradition (drinking beer). Thus a tradition was born. And showing the power of the Booth brand, nowadays people in Belgium are beginning to celebrate Halloween. This remains distinct from the November 1st tradition of visiting the graves of those who have passed and leaving yellow Golden Daisies as tribute.

Jan de Kuyper c/o 2016

A Family Serving

In Korea, all major holidays revolve around visiting ancestors’ graves and/or hometowns. Gravesite visits entail site maintenance and placing food in front of an altar prepared for the occasion. Family members take turns (according to age/hierarchy) paying their respects with a bow. If the celebration takes place at someone’s home, the event is much more food-oriented. A special bowl is prepared for the honored family member containing bite size portions of rice and the various dishes prepared for the event - aka bibimbap. The lights are turned off, the door is left ajar, and the family provides some privacy to allow the spirits to enjoy their fill. Afterwards, the whole family celebrates by feasting.

Minyoung Lee c/o 2016

Back to Normal

In Iran, there are four key touch points when someone passes: day 1, 3, 7, and 40. Starting day one, people will visit the mourning family and join together for meals. By day three, the deceased will be laid to rest after being cleansed and prepared for burial. There are no caskets and tombstones are laid flat on the grave. Visits to the mourning family will continue until the end of the seventh day. Between the seventh and fortieth day, the goal is to get back into the routine of life. The mourning family members are expected to exchange a visit with all the people that visited them during the mourning week. At a time when it might be difficult to leave the house, the tradition provides a sense of purpose by forcing people to go out and be social. This continues until the 40th day (they say it takes 30 days to make a habit), when a large celebration dinner is held in memory of the deceased. For a kid, the 40 days are wonderful time of endless visits and play with childhood friends.

Hoda Gerami c/o 2016

A Day for the Dead

A typical Ofrenda in Mexico. Image courtesy of mxcity.mx

A typical Ofrenda in Mexico. Image courtesy of mxcity.mx

Around Halloween there is a tradition just south of the border that sounds the same, but is really different. On Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, the dead of every family in Mexico is honored and remembered. It might sound very solemn and sad, but it is really a happy occasion! On Dia de los Muertos, families gather to honor, remember and celebrate their relatives who have passed on to a better place. They do so by means of “Ofrendas”, or offerings, dedicated in the memory of their loved ones. You can expect a multitude of colors, smells and, literally, flavors in each Ofrenda, customized for the person to whom it is made. Families even cook for the deceased their favorite dishes, and have it once more with them. Flowers, ‘papel picado’, colors and candy, and you have yourself an Ofrenda. Add an Ofrenda from every member of every family across the nation and you have people everywhere all dressed up and smelling deliciously of food and flowers, in a memory-infused week of celebration.

Rafael Tuachi c/o 2017

Losing a loved one is always tough, but help us refocus on the people in our lives we care about most. Undoubtedly, there are many more traditions to be found at Booth. Among the things we can learn from one another are the traditions we have that help us honor our ancestors. Perhaps, we may even adopt a tradition or two ourselves.

Israel enjoys exploring the diversity at Booth in as many facets as possible.