Too often I find myself searching for the “next best thing” when it comes to interactive and collaborative tools online. Picking through blog posts, reading RSS feeds, and creating multimedia projects can often distract me from using the Internet for one of it’s very first, and simplest reasons; reading a plain-jain simple site that has lots of interesting facts. That’s why I decided to learn a little bit about Halloween this morning before school started. Among the millions of results that I found on Google for “Halloween Around the World” a couple on the first page stood out as being particularly interesting.
Halloween Around the World at Jack O’Lantern.net was a well organized site with examples of festivities from every continent, including parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands, places where I wasn’t even aware that many Halloween traditions were practiced. The Jack O’Lantern site is geared more towards elementary audiences judging by the layout and images. However, the content would be great up to a middle school level. What’s really intriquing is how many of the customs are similiar. For instance, in Vietnam, food is spread out for the dead ancestors and other “wandering souls”, which reminded me of the way many Mexicans celebrate Dia de los Muertos, by preparing favorite dishes of recently deceased family members.
SocyBerty on the other hand, provides plenty of images from around the world, to give readers a visual sense of just how different Halloween customs are. A self-proclaimed blog dedicated to different societys’ relationships, lifestyles, and history, SocyBerty isn’t always the most kid-friendly blog (as I learned by reading through some of the posts), but pulling the desired content offline or copying and pasting to a word document would be simple and enjoyable. Their Halloween Celebrations Throughout the World post gives brief examples of traditions and images from places like India, Spain, Japan, and other countries. The information is a bit brief, but this site is worth a quick look just to see the flaming monstrosity at a Spanish festival and the serene image of paper lanterns about to be placed in the water in Japan.
Of course, there are plenty of other great websites about Halloween and other festivals that celebrate the dead or recently departed. It’s just a matter of taking the time to slow down from posting to forums, blogs, and wikis to do a simple search.