Foreign Fall Festivities

The fall season is different for everyone around the world, and it is important to recognize the unique traditions seen across cultures. Woodgrove is hosting several foreign exchange students this year, many of whom celebrate the season differently. 

   Some holidays, like Thanksgiving, are exclusively American events while others, like Halloween, are celebrated throughout the world. Despite Halloween’s widespread notoriety, countries find different ways to get involved in these festivities.

The photo is of Yukina Suzuki. Provided by Jillian Lewis.
The photo is of Ester Anguila Sicars. Provided by Jillian Lewis.

“[We also celebrate] Halloween, but on a smaller size,” says Yukina Suzuki, a Japanese foreign exchange student at Woodgrove. Suzuki also remarks that while fall is very similar in America to her home country, it is colder here. Autumn, also referred to as “Aki” in Japan, brings about a series of festivities, including Tsukimi, or “moon viewing.” This thousand year old traditional holiday is a way of expressing gratitude for a good harvest and the beauty of the moon. Much like many Americans, Suzuki also says it is traditional for her family to watch the leaves change colors from yellow to red. 

Straying away from classic autumn holidays, many students in Northern Spain and Portugal celebrate a “Chestnut Party.” This was created out of a centuries-old Catalan tradition called “la Castanyada” or “chestnut feast” consisting of a gathering on October 31st where participants stay awake and eat seasonal chestnuts until November 1st to pay their respects to their ancestors. This gradually changed into the Chestnut Parties seen today throughout Spain and Portugal. 

“We decorated classrooms with leaves and cooked and ate [chestnuts],” says Spanish foreign exchange student Ester Anguila Sicars. Despite these parties only continuing through primary school, all of Spain has ways of celebrating.

“Castañeras” appear in the streets selling sweet, smoky roasted chestnuts. This is treated as a mini fall festival for the locals, who gather in masses to enjoy the fall weather and food.