• 2017.11.28
  • The truth about Halloween
I’m a bit late in asking this, but how was everyone’s Halloween? It looks like Japan’s been getting weirdly into it over the last few years… it really shows you how readily and doggedly the Japanese go after anything that looks like it might be a commercial opportunity lol.

By the way, did you know that Halloween actually originates in Ireland (including Scotland, apparently)? If you ask the Japanese about Halloween, a lot of them will probably tell you that it’s something like our Obon Festival. There are some similarities, but personally, I find the two holidays to be very different.

To start, Halloween was originally a Celtic religious event that was both a harvest festival and a day to drive out malevolent spirits. The fact that departed ancestors were also said to return is the same as our Obon Festival. Even I realize that Obon events are held to welcome grandma and grandpa and the rest of our deceased ancestors back—but here’s the difference with Halloween:

Evil spirits come back along with the ancestors.

No such thing in Japan, right? The costumes were apparently a way for people to protect themselves from the evil spirits. That tradition got tossed around here and there and today we just have fun costume parties. So if you guys had a good Halloween, you’d better thank the Celts for that! :D

When I show off my knowledge about all this, my friends often say, “so how crazy do the Irish get when they celebrate Halloween, then?” The kids in Dublin of course go around during the Trick or Treat thing, there are tons of Halloween events, and downtown areas often host parades.




There was a parade at a famous event in March, too—but personally I think I like this one a bit better…



Granted, things definitely get wilder than this in Shibuya and Dotonbori lol

There is something that you probably never see in Japan though, and that’s company Halloween parties! Obviously not every company has them, but at least mine did, and everyone came to work in their costumes. We worked all day in costume and then had a party at closing time. Of course you had the usual groups of costumed drunk people wandering the streets at night, too… (that creepy-looking Minion on the right is a friend of mine, by the way… lol)



The next morning, this is what we saw in the window at a nearby hotel.



So that’s it for your Halloween post from Ireland! As the holiday catches on in Japan, don’t forget the country where it all started! (persistent, I know :P)

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  • Keiko Miki
  • AgeDragon( TATU )
  • GenderFemale
  • JobTranslator

Keiko Miki lives in Dublin, Ireland, where she works as a translator for a mobile game company.She wants to introduce readers to aspects of Irish culture and the Irish people that are little-known in Japan, and tell everyone how the Irish see Japan—all in a fun way that hopefully gets a few laughs in the process.

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