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Beyond Halloween: 8 Holidays Spirits Love


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All Souls' Week
German tradition says to hide away all knives on All Saints' Day so wandering spirits won't be accidentally gored. Simon Watson/Photolibrary/Getty Images
German tradition says to hide away all knives on All Saints' Day so wandering spirits won't be accidentally gored. Simon Watson/Photolibrary/Getty Images

As in other countries, Germans don't celebrate Halloween per se. On Nov. 1, Germans who are Catholic celebrate All Saints' Day. Taking it a step further, in southern Germany, residents celebrate Oct. 30 to Nov. 8 as All Souls' Week, and remember their beloved dead by visiting gravesites and perhaps attending Mass in their honor.

But the more unusual custom is the knife-hiding. On either Oct. 31, Nov. 1 or throughout the entire All Souls' Week (Oct. 30 to Nov. 8) — depending on the German region — people also stash away their knives in safe places. This tradition stems from an old belief that spirits come home to visit at this time. And no one wants to inadvertently slice or dice a ghost while chopping veggies or slicing bread. So Germans felt it was best to hide all of the household knives [source: Sawyer]. Now the practice is merely a fun tradition.


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