US holiday Halloween casts a spell over German youth

DDP/The Local
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US holiday Halloween casts a spell over German youth
Photo: DPA

Halloween celebrations are becoming increasing popular in Germany, particularly among young people, according to a new survey released on Thursday.


One-third of the poll participants found the secular American holiday “good” and will likely celebrate on October 31. A further fifth of the population could still decide spontaneously to attend a party, the survey conducted by market research institute Resuma found.

The ghoulish holiday - which is believed to stem from a Celtic festival and the Christian holy day of All Saints' - was popular with 85 percent of younger respondents, many of whom have grown up with the imported tradition of dressing in costume and trick-or-treating.

Just five percent of the more than 1,000 participants between the ages of 16 and 80 said they find the spooky festivities unnecessary. But two-thirds of the population still view the holiday as “an invention of the marketing industry.”

Halloween is most popular in the Rhineland region where the debaucherous, costume-heavy Karneval has been a tradition for hundreds of years. Two-thirds of those surveyed there said they had positive feelings about the holiday.

Residents of the more staid northern state of Saxony-Anhalt only had a 16 percent approval rate for the Halloween, though.

Many in Bavaria also view Halloween with some scepticism. According to the Bavarian Public Holidays Act, the night before All Saints Day (a Catholic holiday that also honours the dead) is a “silent day,” when entertainment, music and dance events are prohibited. In 2008, the Bavarian state parliament enacted a law that forbids public celebration after midnight on October 31st, a rule that will be enforced this year as well, according to daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Thursday.


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