Now that Halloween is fast approaching, some people are in full preparation mode. Adding final touches to their spooky dinner table, downloading that one horror movie they promised themselves they’d muster up the courage to watch, and preparing their costume to go trick or treating.
No matter how many people are slowly joining the frightening festivities every year, it seems like proper, nationwide trick or treating is just something Malta won’t ever be able to successfully integrate into its calendar.
Considering it’s not that obvious why it hasn’t caught on (don’t we all gladly turn green for St. Patrick’s Day?), here are some other customs from around the world that we suspect would be just as tough:
1. Thanksgiving Dinner
You’d think that, beyond the history behind the tradition that we obviously don’t share with USA, this would be a pretty easy one to convince us to start doing. A big dinner for the whole family?
That’s basically every Sunday for us! And there lies the problem – we’d probably want to start having Thanksgiving Dinner each and every weekend, making us not only the most obese country in Europe right now, but forever.
2. Bonfire Night
Remember, remember, the fifth of November. The only fireworks night in the UK, and a celebration of huge bonfires around the country. Back in Malta, what with all the pyromaniacs coming out to play and our lackluster health and safety measures, we’d probably only celebrate it once – there’d be nothing left on the island the following morning.
There have been a couple of odd parties in Malta where people have tried to integrate the piñata concept, but we’re talking about making it a nationwide normality. Can you imagine a short pudgy Maltese boy trying to hit a papier-mâché donkey with a baseball bat? Yes – and it’s terrifying.
Do we want the absolute horror that would follow as all the children gathered round him scramble and fight their way to all the sweets if he did manage to hit it? We don’t think so.
4. Omisoka (Japanese New Year’s Eve)
In Japan, 31st December is one of the most important holidays of the year, and in many homes, after the late 11pm dinner, there is a cast bell that is struck 108 times, symbolising desires believed to cause human suffering. What’s that?! Any form of volume output after 11pm? Cue hundreds of phone calls to the Police, this madness must be stopped!
5. Krampus Night
During the first week of December, Austria celebrates Krampus Night, dedicated to Santa Claus’ evil twin. The half-goat, half-demon punishes children who have misbehaved. Now, try to imagine what it would be like convincing a spoilt Maltese brat that they’re not getting any gifts this Christmas, or even worse, they’re actually getting punished.
After that, try convince all the religious people that we’re celebrating this madness in the run-up to Christmas.
6. La Tomatina
In the small Spanish town of Buñol, on the last Wednesday of every August, a huge tomato fight takes place. About 11 truckloads of tomatoes are driven into the town square at around 11am, and at the sound of a cannon, all hell breaks loose.
The tradition has now been also introduced in certain parts of USA, Costa Rica, Colombia, China and even India, but we don’t think this would ever catch up in Malta. “X’għarukaża jaqq, xi ħmieg u ħela!”
7. Kanamara Matsuri
The translation for that is literally the Festival of the Steel Phallus. Yep, we’re not making this up. Held each spring at the Kanayama Shrine, the festival celebrates one of the best legends in the history of the world.
Legend has it that a jealous sharp-tooted demon hid inside the vagina of a beautiful young woman and bit off penises of the men who tried to make love to her. The woman finally found help in the form of a local blacksmith who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth. Celebrating the phallus’ regenerative abilities to local crops and fertility to everyone, the locals literally have a Penis Festival. A festival. Themed around penises. How would that work in a country where even a simple column-monument is still considered the most scandalous thing on our island? It just wouldn’t.