How to Say Boo Around the World: Halloween Slang

Talk Like a Local — By Alexi Ueltzen on October 28, 2009 at 8:28 am

Halloween is celebrated, in one form or another, all over the world. In Belgium people light a candle in memory of dead relatives. In Germany, they hide their knives (in case returning spirits find them). In Hong Kong, pictures of fruit or money are burned in hopes that they will reach the spirit world and comfort the dead.

And in the U.S., children and pets dress in costume and demand free candy from their neighbors.

Each country has its own version of Halloween, and its own unique way of celebrating. Read on for Halloween equivalents, traditions and slang around the world.

Halloween’s equivalent in…

Sweden: Alle Helgens Dag
England: All Hallows Eve
Spain and Mexico: Dia de los Muertos
China: Chusok
Japan: Obon Festival

Its tradition:

Sweden: A shorter working day for adults and a day off school for children.
England: It used to be carving beetroots and turnips, and lighting bonfires. In more recent years, the American tradition of trick or treating has taken hold.
Spain and Mexico: Decorating altars to the deceased with food, flowers, photographs and more. This happy holiday is also celebrated by maintaining gravesites, parades and candle lighting.
China: Placing food and water in front of photographs of dead relatives, as well as lighting lanterns and bonfires to “lead spirits home.”
Japan: Special foods are prepared, lanterns or candles are lit and set afloat on rivers or seas. Gravesites are also cleaned during this time.

How to say “ghost” in…

Sweden: Ghost
England: Ghost
Spain and Mexico: Fantasma
China: Gui
Japan: Yuurei

How to say “Boo!” in…

Sweden: Boo!
England: Boo!
Spain and Mexico: Boo!
China: Boo!
Japan: Boo!

[Photo: stevechasmar/Creative Commons]

Tags: Around the World, boo, candy, ghost, Halloween, tradition


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