Rooting from West and Christianity, Halloween is one of the most widely-spread spiritual and cultural “products” in the world. No longer carrying much of a religious connotation, it has gradually turned into a festival where people dress up in scary costumes and have fun together every late October.
According to researchers, “Halloween”, original name was All Hallow’s Eve, originates from the Christian church. This ceremony takes place on October 31 to pray for the souls. Other documents wrote that Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. The Celts lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France.
In addition, there are many ideas that October 31 is the only day yin people can return to the yang realm. Then, people will dress up in horror so that the dead do not feel lonely in the world.
Whether its original purpose is to pray for the dead or to ward off evil spirits, Halloween has been increasingly popular, and celebrated in many countries across continents, including Asia. Each place has interesting variations that residents and visitors can enjoy. Let’s visit some attractive Asian destinations to play Halloween!
Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
Like other countries in Asia, Halloween is not a tradition but is gaining popularity in Vietnam, especially in big cities such as Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi. Halloween parties are mostly held at cafés, bars or restaurants.
Coming to Bui Vien and Nguyen Hue pedestrian streets, visitors can experience the spirit of Halloween in Vietnam. The lights will stay on all night and there will be a lot of “ghosts” wandering the streets suddenly jumping out to scare you. Other common activities on Halloween in Vietnam are masquerade parties, late-night horror movies,… Halloween-themed dishes such as blood soup will also be served only on this day.
Halloween continues to become popular in Japan since Tokyo Disneyland hosted its first Halloween parade in 2000, followed by Universal Studios Japan in 2002. Now it is one of the biggest events in the country, and of course, held on October 31. However, Halloween in Japan isn’t just an imitation of the American version. For example, there’s no “trick-or-treating”. The Japanese love dressing up and even have a cosplay culture (transforming into characters from anime, animation, etc.). That’s why Halloween gives them one more chance to be creative for their appearance. A very popular style is the blend of the horror Halloween and the usual cuteness of Japanese people, especially girls.
If you wonder where to celebrate Halloween in Japan, it is best to start at street parties throughout Japan in crowded spots such as squares and parks. You also can join the Halloween parade at Roppongi Hills or all-night parties in Shibuya or Ikebukuro (Tokyo). Trains and theme parks such as Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan and Sanrio Puroland are all Halloween attractions.
On this occasion, visitors will surely fall in love with cute Halloween-themed dishes and souvenirs with incredible sophistication.
Itaewon and Hongdae (South Korea)
Visiting South Korea on Halloween, you won’t see many people in horror costumes, haunted houses or “trick-or-treating”, etc. However, as Halloween is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the impact of Western culture, so many, especially young people, here create a lot of leisure activities.
For instance, you can find Halloween-specific discounts in some shops. Bakeries and cafes may come up with drinks and pastries related to Halloween or send a zombie waiter/waitress to serve you. In recent years, there have been quite a few costume shops popping up in Korea to help you dress up for Halloween and then join a fun party in Itaewon or Hongdae on October 31.
Some exciting Halloween events can be mentioned such as Halloween Horror Festival at Lotte World amusement park, Zombie Run Festival – running away from the dead with a 3km run starting from Lotte World Tower or visiting Yongin’s Korean Folk Village,…
Lan Kwai Fong (Hong Kong)
Lan Kwai Fong is a very famous nightlife destination in Hong Kong. During festivals like Halloween, it is much more crowded here. On the last day of October, on some streets between Wyndham and D’Aguilar, visitors dress up as ghosts, witches, mummies, zombies,… to have fun together on Halloween.
They can taste premium dishes in luxury restaurants as well as street food at cheap food stalls. The big nightclubs such as Volar, Dragon-i, and Rula Bula will have all-night events, tickets or entrance fee required, typically with famous DJs, open bars, and prizes for best costume. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can buy food and drinks from the 7-11 convenience store, hang out in the street, and enjoy the crazy vibe.