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US holiday Halloween casts a spell over German youth

DDP/The Local · 29 Oct 2009, 16:32

Published: 29 Oct 2009 16:32 GMT+01:00

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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.

Story continues below…

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.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:41 October 29, 2009 by So36
Good grief, you people need to relax. Samhain is the Celtic celebration that sparked Halloween - which is traditionally an American holiday.
17:57 October 29, 2009 by design
i was in a bar last year on halloween and at midnight they turned down the music and the whole night was dead( bavaria) part of the fun of halloween is partying all night and waking up with some random chick who was dressed all slutty. they got it all twisted making the actual night close down early. leave it to germans to screw up a holiday. unless it involves eating pork and drinking steins it aint a celebration
19:05 October 29, 2009 by Bienchen
Canada is its own country still! We've adopted Halloween just as seriously as the Americans did.
19:31 October 29, 2009 by Noctuus
Sorry folks: it's an all Christian holiday, but a forgotten one.


Pagans are trying to hijack the old Christian feast, interestingly enough.
07:38 October 30, 2009 by The-ex-pat
Halloween is not American, but trick or treat is! Have you ever asked for a trick, kids just stand a look at you with blank faces. They have no idea today what it is all about other than getting a few sweets for nothing. Everything has to be for free today or it is not worth the effort!!!
07:45 October 30, 2009 by Nemesis
@ The-ex-pat


Trick or treat has been a tradition for hundreds of years on Isle of Man, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Northern England.


Nothing in Halloween was invented by the USA. It is purely a European invention and tradition.
19:23 October 30, 2009 by Andrea_mamaro
All I can say is that Halloween is a cool holiday, especially for children and dentists. I can only say that I learned Halloween originated from Ireland and had a Celtic origin. I always loved halloween as a child and I still enjoy it. Just yesterday I baked some spooky cupcakes for my husband's class. I think that if anything Germans can benefit from such holidays, maybe they would lighten up more! I don't know about my other fellow ex pats, but I feel like there's always something missing in between from August to December. That aside, so what if the Germans start to celebrate Halloween, in the US people love to celebrate St.Patricks (mind you the reasons are not always justified) so what, have fun - that is what it is about not stealing or taking culture away!
02:55 October 31, 2009 by martell
The Bavarians insist they are not really a part of the Federal Republic, and the rest of the republic does not really like the Bavarians. These are the guys American tourists think all Germans look like them, wearing lederhosen, drinking from liter mugs and permanently yodeling.

It is an outrageous fact that in a country where church and state are supposed to be separate by the constitution, the catholic church which still somehow has the say in predominantly catholic Bavaria very much, forces the citizens to obey their list of "holy days". The papists are afraid that heathendom might come back to Germany and thus pressure the local politicians to keep enforcing curfews. They forget that Celts lived in the South and Southwest of Germany and Samhain was celebrated there when christianity finally was forced upon the people. It is a re-import back to the roots, and a harmless one.

Ridiculous curfew laws, at least to everyone who does not live in the Bavarian misery.
07:05 October 31, 2009 by freechoice
Isn't Halloween the celebration of 666?
09:25 November 1, 2009 by InTheBubble
Halloween just finished here in mainland USA a few hours ago, and it was certainly a fun evening. We had about 60 little kids come around throughout the evening in all manner of costumes, and we handed out about $25 dollars worth of popcorn balls and small candy bars. The kids were so cute, especially the tiniest ones, and some of the outfits were amazing, while others were very funny. This is a totally innocent night for children and adults alike here in USA. The children love it, and most of the adults do too (but for those few who hide in the dark to avoid the whole affair). Those who take offense due to some ancient history about the evening are either simpletons or have mental problems. I'm sorry for them. They are missing a wonderfully fun and innocent activity.
18:50 November 3, 2009 by looshe
I just want to say one thing...who are Americans? Where did they come from? They all imigrated from Europe didn't they?? So whatever traditions or holidays they kept up have origings from Europe. It became very popular in America because they like to commercialize all holidays and make it into money making schemes.
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