Day of the dead

Leungo Mokgwathi
GAINING MOMENTUM: Halloween is growing in popularity locally

Locals embrace Halloween

It appears Halloween – a celebration once shunned by most African communities due to its association with dark magic or witchcraft – has grown little legs in Botswana, especially amongst the younger urban communities.

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Celebrated on October 31st, the secular holiday is famous for the practice of pulling pranks, wearing masks and costumes and ‘trick-or-treating’, where children go from house to house with the threat that they will pull a trick if they do not receive a treat, usually candy.

Locally, the festivities kicked off on Saturday with XO Exclusive stream’s private Halloween night, which by all accounts was spine tingling.

On the same night, needing no excuse to slap on their rockers face paint, Heavy Metal group, Raven in Flesh and their fans took over Masa Square for the ‘Spooktacular Halloween Carnival’.

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New Capitol Cinemas joined in the fun as well, showing horror movies through the week, including old classics ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ as well as ‘Trolls’ for the kids.

Meanwhile, Yarona FM invited the media for a Halloween-drip themed press briefing ahead of the YAMAs.

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While a number of locals were happy to participate in this age-old tradition, many were held back by the lack of understanding of what exactly Halloween is and why we celebrate it.

Often described as the scariest time of the year, Halloween was originally known as the day of the dead. It was believed that on this day, spirits of the dead would cross over to the earth, which called for celebration by their loved ones. It is believed that they wore costumes to ward off these spirits from ‘taking them’.

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The practice was first associated with Ireland, United Kingdom and Northern France, but as the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween which included play parties began to emerge.

Eventually, the superstitions surrounding the day were abolished and Halloween became a day for dressing up in costumes and having fun.

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