Holidays in South Africa: Halloween

Holidays in are much the same as they are in many other countries around the world. Families, friends and communities usually get together to celebrate the day and partake in festive, seasonal activities. Although Halloween, a holiday celebrated in most North American and European countries on October 31, was not recognized in South Africa until about a decade ago, people today do celebrate this spooky occasion in a variety of different, fun ways.

According to Parent24, Halloween is derived from Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival that commemorates the end of summer and harvest season. Legend has it that on this night, the boundaries between the spirit world and that of the living are thinner than ever, allowing the souls of those who died to cross back over. The traditional jack o’lanterns and scary costumes that have become such an important part of Halloween are remnants of this ancient feast as well. The Celts used to hang burning pumpkins and dress up in an attempt to frighten the mischievous spirits away.

While the news source reports that some individuals from South Africa are against the holiday, the influence of American horror movies and Western culture has made Halloween very popular among the younger generation. However, unlike in the U.S., Canada or the UK, the practice of trick or treating does not really exist in South Africa, due to the country’s high crime rate and the resulting fear of danger. Instead, children often take part in organized Halloween activities at their community centers or secure estates.

For adults, however, there will be many fantastic parties, attractions and events to attend in the capital city, reports Cape Town Magazine. For instance, The Labia Theatre and the Book Lounge will host a fantastic South African Horrorfest from October 26 to November 4. This event, which features showings of scary movies, an independent film competition, a costume contest and zombie walk, has been held in Cape Town for the past seven years. Reportedly, it is one of the most exciting Halloween festivals that takes place in the country.

Of the many different events that are scheduled as part of South African Horrorfest, the live music performance of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on October 11 is the most highly anticipated, reports the festival’s website.

Close