One of the opportunities students at Komajo have is to chat in English during lunchtime with friends and teachers. During these chats, we talk about a lot of interesting topics. Recently students were interested in Halloween and how the holiday got started. We talked about similarities between Halloween and the Japanese holidays, Setsubun and Obon.
Students were surprised to learn of how Halloween came from an older European autumn holiday called Samhain. Also, we learned about how the first jack-o-lantern was carved by Irish immigrants in America and its purpose was to scare away bad spirits.
Of course, Halloween is celebrated differently depending on the country and culture. In Japan, for instance, where cosplay is a popular hobby with many young people, Halloween is becoming a very exciting night to dress up with friends. In America, Halloween is a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate the coming of autumn and have fun dressing up in scary costumes as well as eating lots of sweets!
Since a good way to find out about other cultures is to participate in their festivals, this year, students at Komajo decided to have a Halloween party. In the days leading up to the party, students brought lots of decorations and enjoyed making the room look festive. When the day finally arrived, we ordered pizza and brought various sweets and snacks. Everyone dressed up in costumes and had fun painting each other’s faces and telling scary stories in English.
One of the highlights of the party was a talent show. In the show students performed magic tricks, danced and even juggled. Everyone had a great time and felt they came to understand the meaning of Halloween a bit more. Now that the party is over we are looking forward to the next event, Christmas!
Department of International Culture