In America it is widely popular for Halloween to be the one holiday a year where we can dress up as whoever we want to be! However, Halloween isn’t the only holiday in the world where people dress up. Here are some popular holidays from various countries where costumes are necessary!
Sweden: St. Lucia Day
To honor the third-century saint on December 13, many girls in Sweden dress up as “Lucia brides” in long white gowns with red sashes, and a wreath of burning candles on their heads. They wake up their families by singing songs and bringing them coffee and twisted saffron buns called “Lucia cats.”
South America: Carnival & Mardi Gras
Carnival or “Carnaval” is celebrated all over the world, but the largest celebrations take place across South America and the Carribbean, with the largest celebration in the world being in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Carnaval is celebrated immediately before Ash Wednesday and in areas where there is a large Catholic population. It is celebrated with parades, music, and elaborate costumes. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.
In New Orleans, people wear costumes and attend huge parades for the festival of Mardi Gras. The time of Lent is a solemn one of reflection for Christians, so the Tuesday before Lent begins is a time of merry-making for many people around the world.
In Judaism, a common practice is to dress up on Purim. The Jews celebrate the change of their destiny. They were delivered from being the victims of an evil decree against them and were instead allowed by the King to destroy their enemies. A quote from the Book of Esther, which says: “On the contrary” is the reason that wearing a costume has become so popular among the Jews on this holiday. Purim is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in Israel. Purim in Israel is embraced by the whole country, it is a time of festivity and celebrated far beyond its original religious roots. Purim parties take place across Israel, with Purim street parties with carnival atmospheres taking place in almost every city, town and village in the country.
Japan: Coming of Age Day (Seijin no Hi)
It is held in order to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached the age of maturity over the past year, and to help them realize that they have become adults. Festivities include coming of age ceremonies held at local offices, a special Disneyland celebration, as well as after-parties amongst family and friends. Women typically wear a furisode, which is a special type of kimono with extended sleeves and elaborate designs. For unmarried women, this is probably the most formal attire they can wear before marriage so many of them wear it to the event to mark the start of their adult life. The majority of men wear either suits or a traditional male kimono for the occasion.