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Ten for Tuesday: Beyond Halloween - Lights, Spirits & Parties from Around the World

Fall might be my favorite time of year - great weather for outdoor play, beautiful colors as leaves change, yummy seasonal fruits and vegetables to enjoy. Plus,Thanksgiving ranks high on my list of holidays. With Halloween upon us (tomorrow!), I thought I would share some other Fall/Autumn holidays/festivals (AKA parties) from around the world. 

Western Europe:

1. St. Martin's Day (Martinstag) - Held on Nov. 11th, this German Holiday feels a lot like a festival of lights, typically including a procession of lanterns. It is holiday that children all over Germany, Austria and many other European countries celebrate. Red Ted Art shares the lanterns they made for this holiday.

2. Guy Fawkes Day/Bonfire Night - I am learning from my friends in the UK that this Nov. 5th holiday is actually quite a big deal and the celebration features fireworks, sparklers and a bonfire. I love that The Imagination Tree created edible sparklers for the occasion. She also shares more details about this holiday, including its history, in this post along with some great fireworks crafts. Cerys of Rainy Day Mum recently shared about Guy Fawkes Day/Bonfire Night at The Educators Spin On it with some great fire painting activities and more.

Asia/South Asia:  

3. Zhongqui (Chinese Moon/Mid-Autumn Festival) - Though already passed this year, I still wanted to share this great Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated this year on Sept. 30th. I think sharing it with kids now, with Pumpkin Patches and Harvest activities in full swing, can underscore for them the importance of the harvest time of year around the world. Carrots Are Orange shared how they celebrated the Moon Festival this year. Kids World Citizen also has a great post about this holiday that provides lots of information about the holiday and some delicious moon cakes.

4. Tsukimi/Otsukimi Festival (Japan) - Two Japanese festivals, typically held around the 15th day of the 8th month and 13th day of the 9th month (mid-Sept. and mid-Oct. in our calendar), this holiday is similar to the Chinese festival in that it also involves honoring the autumn moon. Beautiful seasonal produce is set out as an offering to the moon and decorations and dumplings are made to honor the beauty of the moon.

5. Diwali/Deepaval, the Festival of Lights - one of the most significant holidays of Hinduism also dominated with lights with the lights signifying the dominance of good over evil. This year, celebrations will begin on Nov. 13th and run for 5 days. The Educators' Spin On It shares how her family celebrates as well as many resources for learning more about this beautiful holiday. Putti's World has many posts with activities related to this holiday. This one includes lots of food and crafts for the holiday. Kids World Citizen offers another simple craft for this holiday. Plus, The Golden Gleam shared some great Mandalas her daughter made for Diwali, and the Nurturestore shared Playdough Mandalas. Oh - and Mama Smiles has a great Exploring Geography series that offers many posts about countries around the world, including this post written by Kim from The Educators Spin On It about India with photos and information about Diwali.

6. Chusok (Korean Thanksgiving) - Celebrated this year from Sept. 29-Oct. 1, this holiday is among the top three holidays in Korea. Traditionally, the holiday was a time when people gave thanks to their ancestors for a bountiful harvest and shared their abundance with family. It remains an opportunity for families to come together in a feast (similar to Thanksgiving in the U.S.) and to visit graves and honor their deceased loved ones. Connecting Family and Seoul (formerly Famiglia + Seoul) shared a great Korean cultural basket and book she and her son read and used to get in the spirit for Chusok this year.  

North America/Latin America:

7. Day of the Dead - A holiday celebrated on Nov. 1st in many Latin American countries is a major event where we live in Southern California, with many large public events, parades and activities taking place throughout the weekend. The skull image is most associated with this holiday and Kids World Citizen shares a simple skull craft perfect for this holiday. It is a day to commemorate loved ones who have died. Adventures in Mommydom created a Day of the Dead memory book with her Elementary-aged children. Glittering Muffins Around the World in 12 Dishes: Mexico linky also offers lots of Mexican food recipes and craft ideas/activities.

8. All Saints' Day - Also celebrated on Nov. 1st, this Catholic Holiday honors all saints, known and unknown, and was traditionally a feast day. Hmmm - perhaps you will find yourself feasting on Halloween candy from the night before...though I do not think that is exactly what the Catholic church had in mind.

9. All Souls' Day - While not similar in style of celebration, this holiday, held on Nov. 2nd, is similar in meaning and purpose to Day of the Dead, as it is a Christian Holiday to honor those who are no longer living. I love the way the NurtureStore shared this holiday with her family and why she introduces her children to many holidays from other cultures.

*All Saints Day and All Souls Day are also celebrated in many other areas, especially in Western and Eastern European and the Philippines and in many areas where Catholicism is the primary religion.


10. Yam Festival (Nigeria) - The earliest (relatively) of all of the holidays/festivals included here, as this festival typically takes place in August at the end of the rainy season, I wanted to include it because of the festival being a harvest festival and thus connected to many of the harvest festivities (pumpkin patches, hayrides, etc.) that often take place in the U.S. around this time of year. In Nigeria, yams are the first crop to be harvested and are the most important crop in the region. On festival day, only dishes with yams are served and the day is also marked with parades, folk dances and masquerades. Some yams have been known to weigh in at 150 pounds, making yams similar to pumpkins in terms of their range of size and their significance as a harvest crop. How about the Great Yam, Charlie Brown? For a great Yammy Yam Muffin, click here.

Celebrating and/or learning about holidays around the world offers a fun way for kids to learn about other cultures and to explore geography. It also reminds us (and teaches kids) of the similarities that are shared across cultures. Common themes I noticed were the use of lights in many of the festivals (the Divali, Moon Festival, St. Martins and other lanterns shared reminded me of jack-o-lanterns popping up everywhere right now for Halloween), the significance of honoring loved ones that have passed away was another common theme as is the world-wide tradition of celebrating the harvest and abundance of the Earth with friends and family. 

Also, Crafty Moms Share also recently shared a Halloween around the world post for more on the ways that different geographic areas celebrate similar holidays.

Pinboards to follow for more activities related to these holidays and other global learning and multicultural activities for kids:

Around the World with Kids Pinboard
Collaborative Pinboard: Multicultural Kid Blogs-Raising Global Citizens


  1. Thanks for including our Diwali info! I'm off to check out all these great resources to learn about holidays all around the world. I also pinned this to our Bilingual Babies and Geography Board!

  2. Great post to explore Halloween! Thanks for including us :)

  3. This is a great round-up of ideas!:) I loved the Nigeria mention, because I hadn't heard of it. Thanks!

  4. I love this post! Such a wonderful resource for families looking to raise globally aware children :)

  5. I love this! My daughter was just asking me about a holiday they talked about at school but she couldn't remember the name - I'm sure it's on your list. What a super way to introduce kids to the world.

  6. This is such an awesome post - full of great information. In the last couple of years I've become familiar with Guy Fawkes Day, both because of the British influence in Malawi and the British influence on my husband - reminiscent of his boarding school days. I will be bookmarking this post for future reference.

  7. Delighted you stumbled over our firework party as part of Country Kids. It is a great event we hold for our holiday guests each year.

  8. oh how interesting is all that - thank you for sharing.


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