We are all familiar with how the UK celebrate the festival, our trick or treating and Pumpkin carving but exactly how do our continental friends fair against our traditions? To France we go!
The spirit behind Halloween (honouring the dead) has been celebrated in France for Centuries by the older generation. They would visit cemeteries, honour their saint and attend religious festivals.
Surprisingly, Halloween is a relatively new tradition in France. It started in the mid 80’s when the American Dream Bar in Paris held a Halloween night – It was such a new idea, staff had to explain what was going on to their customers.
The phenomenon of the Halloween is becoming such a success that The Gally Farm just outside Paris allows customers to pick their own Pumpkins -Well, we get to pick strawberries in Summer…
In 1993 the costume company Cézar opened a mask museum in Saint-Hiliare-Saint-Florent to display a range of clothing purchased from America, It was the first of its kind and interest soon fizzled out as Halloween was still relatively new in France.
In 1996 the quaint town of Saint-Germain decided to hold a Halloween party during the daylight hours – less scary perhaps? The party was held on October 24th to introduce the festival to locals.
Philippe Cahen, the president of Optus-Opus registered the word Halloween as a trademark in 1997 and believes that he is the father of the French Halloween.
In 2000, he decided to challenge 25 artists to produce artwork with the theme ‘Halloween’ and he exhibited it in the Victor Hugo Clinic near the Arc de Triumph. One of the sculptures is a six legged fanged creature!
The Modern World
France Telecom, Mc Donald’s, Disney and Cocoa Cola introduced pumpkins and Halloween images in their publicity campaigns, lets just say the rest is history…