Articles

Czechs & Halloween: mostly for fun

In Culture on November 2, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged:

Several days ago Czech flower shops and fruit and vegetable stands were orange, selling Halloween decorations and pumpkins, even though this holiday has nothing to do with Czech myths, legends, traditions and customs. Ironically, as this “American” holiday is new here, it is observed on at least four levels:

Level 1: Expats living in the Czech Republic: Halloween is observed by Americans living in the Czech Republic, either entire U.S. families or mixed couples with children. They usually get together with their expat friends. They usually have parties for kids who, unfortunately, cannot go trick or treating (see below).

Level 2: Companies with American employees: Multinational companies where many foreigners work often have parties for employees which reflect different customs and observances. Halloween costume parties are often held and employees from countries where Halloween is not observed, including the Czech Republic, are encouraged to participate for the sake of team spirit and teambuilding efforts.

Level 3: Enthusiastic teachers in schools: English language teachers often engage kids in Halloween activities, mostly related to movies and cartoons where spooky events and characters are prominently feature, such as Scooby Doo etc.

Level 4: Czechs who want to be “in” and “trendy”: Foreign holidays, traditions etc. are often adopted by Czechs who want to appear trendy and moderns, often knowing nothing about the origin of their new hobby. Many of them do it for their kids. However, they cannot include the favorite trick-or-treating, because it is virtually impossible in the Czech Republic. Most Czechs live in apartment buildings where the door-to-door activity cannot be done. 

Level 5: Just the pretty decorations: And finally, many people only buy the decorations because they are pretty and in line with the fall season atmosphere. Falling leaves are also orange, as are other fall decorations which have nothing to do with Halloween.

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