As Halloween draws closer, the malls have already started to display plastic pumpkins, fake spiders and other faux spooky decorations. While usually associated with fun filled costume themed parties these days, the ancient Celts originally regarded Halloween with far greater solemnity. During this period, the barriers that separated the supernatural world from that of humankind would weaken, allowing spirits to cross over into the mortal plane of existence .
Similarly, Indian Hindus have their own celebration dedicated to the otherworldly. Known as Pitru Paksha, it usually falls in either mid-September or mid-October, marking the ascension of the autumnal moon. The festival stretches on for 15 days, lasting until the moon disappears. During this period, when the realm of the dead known as Pitra-Loka draws close to the one inhabited by the living, the eldest son of every family conducts daily prayers for his ancestors.
IMAGE CREDIT: Biswarup Ganguly.