Halloween and Christmas are the two holidays that are practically known all around the world. Halloween is really old, with an age of over 3,000 years. Many think that this is a tradition that appeared in USA but that is definitely not the case. In fact, the roots of the holidays are found in Anglo-Saxon and Celtic traditions. In France we do see Halloween being celebrated right now but how did this happen? Let us learn about how celebrations started in France and what happens right now.
French Halloween Celebrations Beginnings
There is this belief that Halloween was celebrated by Gauls with the name Samain. The holiday was seen as marking summer’s end and the start of the dark season. Between October 31st and the first day of November we had the New Year at that point in time. Various druidical rites took place then.
The folk celebration we see now as Halloween appeared in the country during the eighties. At that point in time we saw just English speaking communities that celebrated the holiday in restaurants or bars. French started to celebrate Halloween at the start of the nineties. During the year 1992 we saw Cesar, a fancy dress costume company, working on doing business in France. That is interesting because in USA we saw the large Halloween celebrations starting only in the year 1997 so France was ahead of the curb.
Halloween Celebrations In France
In most cases Halloween is celebrated in France by people that are young. They wear costumes and go to parties in clubs, homes or other locations. Costumes are normally scary in tradition with ghosts, witches and vampires being highly popular as opposed to superheroes or princesses. The latter are more popular in Great Britain or United States.
In France we do not see trick or treating. The commercial centers and stores will normally decorate pastry, candy and windows with a Halloween theme. The actual trick or treating celebration is only seen among some French kids in smaller communities.
Modern French Halloween Celebrations
Right now, we see that French Halloween is seen as being quite controversial because of many different reasons. The large controversy appears because of the fact that the period between the last day of October and November 2 is when older French generations honor saints, attend religious services and visit some cemeteries. Halloween is considered as being a distraction by those people and they believe that it is a lack of respect in celebrating dead individuals.
We also see Halloween boycotting that appears because of the belief that the holiday is just a marketing strategy that is used by Americans.
In the past we did see that Halloween was highly successful, especially in the period around 2000. Nowadays, in the last 5 to 6 years, a lot of religious and political controversy appeared and opposition is stronger. Halloween in France is faced with a decline, with shops and streets not being decorated as often and as fabulously as they used to be.