Halloween is on its way, let’s talk about what it represents in France. Halloween in France is rather controversial, due to the fact that it is not a typical French holiday and some people still do not understand what is being celebrated.
Because Halloween is seen as an American celebration, some French people refuse to enjoy it, having decided to include it in their anti-American boycott although some sources say that Celts in northern France also celebrated Halloween, but this is unconfirmed.
Some companies began using pumpkins and other Halloween images and ideas in publicity campaigns in the early 1990s. This simultaneously increased French people’s knowledge about Halloween and made it seem like another imposition of American culture.
Halloween in France is usually celebrated by costumed people of all ages going to parties at friends’ homes, restaurants, bars, or clubs but I would say that they belong to a minority. The costumes themselves tend to be traditionally “scary” – mummies, ghosts, goblins, witches, and vampires – rather than the cute costumes like princesses, superheroes, and the cartoon character of the day which are popular in the US. Stores, malls, restaurants, offices, and homes decorate their windows; pastry and candy shops make up special desserts and candies; and many different kinds of companies use Halloween in their ads. Supermarkets started selling pumpkins for jack-o’-lanterns and we find some of them on the windows of the houses.
However, All Saints’ Day is more widely celebrated and it occurs on the 1st of November, which is a day off in France. 31 October to 2 November have traditionally been spent, especially by older generations, cleaning decorating and visiting cemeteries, honoring saints, and attending religious services. We spend the 1st of November with our family, no matter how religious we are.
I would like to show you a video clip about Halloween, which is taken from ‘Les Têtes à claques’, a famous online show from Quebec. I find it very funny, first because of its content and second because of the language: French from Quebec is always interesting to listen to. If like me you do not understand everything, you can still watch it with the subtitles in French.
Joyeux Halloween à tous!