Difference Between Halloween and Bhoot Chaturdashi

Who has not heard of Halloween? Be it from Goosebumps or Harry Potter, or any Hollywood movie aimed at children, Halloween is, without a doubt, a popular festival. Meet the Indian equivalent of Halloween, the Bhoot Chaturdashi. Both Halloween and Bhoot Chaturdashi are festivals of horrors and nightmares. Or, more accurately, festivals that keep the evil at bay by being more evil.

Halloween vs Bhoot Chaturdashi

The main difference between Halloween and Bhoot Chaturdashi is that Halloween is a Christian festival that draws its history from the beliefs and practices of Christianity. On the other hand, Bhoot Chaturdashi is a Hindu-oriented festival celebrated during Diwali. Both the festivals have different cultural backgrounds and are celebrated at different points in time.

Halloween vs Bhoot Chaturdashi

Trick or treat is a phrase known to all. Whether you are handing out the candy or receiving it, Halloween is a fun day to celebrate. With an origin date going all the way back to 1745, Halloween has been around a long time. Celebrated as a Christian festival, Halloween is predominantly considered to honor the dead. There exist several variations and versions to the history of this festival.

Bhoot Chaturdashi is a part of the ritualistic festival of Diwali. Diwali is considered to be one of the major Hindu festivals, and Bhoot Chaturdashi is observed on the second day of Diwali celebrations, typically lasting up to five days. Celebrated to abolish laziness and honor those who had passed away, Bhoot Chaturdashi has its origin dated back to the second half of the first millennium.

Comparison Table Between Halloween and Bhoot Chaturdashi

Parameters of ComparisonHalloweenBhoot Chaturdashi
HistoryCelebrated as a result of All Hallows Day and All Souls Day wherein the veil of life is thinned. Bhoot Chaturdashi is a part of Diwali and honors the dead.
Date of CelebrationHalloween is celebrated on the 31st of October every year.The second day of Diwali celebrations is considered as Bhool Chaturdashi.
GeographyHalloween is celebrated by Christians and people from other cultures across the globe.Bhoot Chaturdashi is predominantly celebrated in the Indian subcontinent and Hindus in different parts of the world.
CelebrationPeople go to church, light candles, dress up in scary costumes, carve pumpkins, and go trick or treating.A puja with oil, flowers, and offerings is conducted, followed by lighting lamps.
DurationHalloween festival lasts for a period of three days, with 31st October, termed as Halloween.Diwali lasts for five days, based on the Indian calendar, the second day being Bhoot Chaturdashi.

What is Halloween?

Halloween is a favorite festival for kids and adults alike. This is owed to the fun nature of the festival despite its serious beginnings.

Halloween is also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve across the globe on the thirty-first of October every year. This festival is mostly considered to be of Christian origins, despite the versatile celebrations undertaken all over the world.

The first mentions of the festival’s name date back to 1745, referring to the Saint’s evening. Celebrated on the eve of the All Saint’s Day, which starts out as the observance of Allhallowtide, this festival is also said to have pagan roots.

Believed to have originated from the country of Ireland, Halloween is originally dedicated to honoring the dead. The myth is based on the belief that the veil between the living and the dead thinks out on this day, allowing friends and family to visit their loved ones.

Halloween is celebrated in a plethora of different ways. Children and adults dress up in scary costumes, with the former going trick-or-treating. They are handed out candies and other edibles. People go to church, light candles, throw parties, carve pumpkins, etc.

Jack o’ lanterns, pumpkins, and scarecrows are considered to be the symbols of this festival.

What is Bhoot Chaturdashi?

Bhoot Chaturdashi, alternatively known as Roop Chaudas, Narak Nivaran Chaturdashi, Choti Diwali, Kali Chaudas, Narak Chaudas, and a whole list of other names, can be called the Hindu-Halloween.

Part of the critically acclaimed festival Diwali that is celebrated by Hindus all across the globe. Bhoot Chaturdashi refers to the festival that celebrates those who had passed away.

Similar to the concept of Halloween, Bhoot Chaturdashi also proclaims that the bridge between the dead and the living is created on the way.

Diwali is celebrated for the killing of the evil Narakasur and lasts for up to five days. The dates are calculated according to the Hindu calendar.

The Bhoot Chaturdashi is celebrated by observing early morning rituals, followed by pujas and offerings made to the deities. A total of fourteen lamps are lighted around the house. Extended offerings, including flowers, sandalwood, oil, and coconuts, are presented with sweets, jaggery, and sesame seeds.

This is believed to ward off evil spirits and abolish laziness. Considered to the day on which Lord Kali has defeated Narakasura, this festival hopes to cleanse people and homes of any darkness.

People use perfumed oils before bathing, apply kajal, chant mantras, and wear new clothes as a symbol of celebration.

Main Differences Between Halloween and Bhoot Chaturdashi

  1. Halloween is alternatively known by the names Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, and All Saints’ Eve. Bhoot Chaturdashi is also known as Choti Diwali, Kali Chaudas, Roop Chaudas, Narak Nivaran Chaturdashi, and Narak Chaudas.
  2. Halloween is globally celebrated on the thirty-first of October. Bhoot Chaturdashi is celebrated on the second day of Diwali, in the Indian month of Karthik.
  3. Halloween has its origin from Christian beliefs and myths, despite its popularity. Bhoot Chaturdashi is a Hindu festival that is mostly limited to the country of India.
  4. Halloween is the first day of a three-day celebration. Bhoot Chaturdashi is the second day of a five-day celebration.
  5. Halloween is celebrated by going to church, lighting candles, and praying. People are found to dress up in scary costumes for this festival. Bhoot Chaturdashi is celebrated by undertaking a puja with oil, flowers, and offerings.

Conclusion

Halloween is a Christian festival, whereas Bhoot Chaturdashi is a Hindu festival. Despite being celebrated by vastly different circles of people, Halloween and Bhoot Chaturdashi are two sides of the same coin.

Both these festivals believe that the veil between the worlds of the living and dead are lifted, allowing people to reconnect with their past self’s friends and family.

Set out to honor the dead, the common thread linking these festivals is the praying and lighting of lamps to ward off evil. Both the festivals make use of vegetables and several unique symbols such as carving pumpkins and applying kajal, etc.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ZLAqApMPMoEC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=halloween&ots=YVT79coxy4&sig=KeozB3XljrI6HxLQ4Hz8Q35bVSw
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2277436X20180207
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