Halloween is the biggest non-Christian holiday celebrated in the United States. Different from what many people may think, it did not originate in U.S. culture. It started in the 16th century in the United Kingdom. Historians connect its beginnings to the Celtic festival of Samhain (which signals the end of summer). Its huge popularity may be a clue that this date brings together a mix of mysticism, nature, death, romance and religion. This holiday is so well accepted that throughout the years, it has been exported to many different countries.
Brazilians are a happy people and known worldwide for their creativity and passion for parties. Although Halloween is not a tradition in the Brazilian culture, we can say that a large portion of our community goes out into the streets on October 31 with their little ones to “trick or treat”!
Because it is not a celebration typical of its culture, on Halloween, the Brazilian community residing in the United States divides into three distinct groups, those who are aficionados, those who are indifferent to the date and those that don’t celebrate (or celebrate “Hallelujah Night” with Bible costumes and tamer activities) for religious reasons.
What’s interesting is that among the three groups, we find entrepreneurs who see in the holiday an opportunity to start diverse and profitable businesses in different industries.
The first group includes the very excited ones who love to party, who count down the days from January until October 31 comes. They are immigrants who surrender themselves to the festivity, wear costumes, dress their children in costumes and throw creatively decorated private parties at their home. The fascination for Halloween fuels their entrepreneurial instinct. Krika Palaia, a Brazilian who has transformed her passion for the celebration into a business venture, organizes extremely popular parties, which originated in her garage, moved to inside of her home and now, take place in private facilities to meet the great demand.
Paula Souzza, known as one of the best make-up artists in the Brazilian community, is part of the smallest group – the indifferent. She does not celebrate but does business around that date with her in-demand artistic makeup. Souzza shares that she cannot meet Brazilian clients’ demand for her services on Halloween. Clients must call in advance to be able to book a time in her hectic schedule.
The third group includes people that do not celebrate for religious reasons, who either celebrate Hallelujah Night at church or completely ignore the date.
On Tuesday, October 31, the Emanuel Assembly of God Church, located at 40 Main Street in Danbury, will celebrate “Halleluja Day” from 5:30 pm thru 7:30pm.
Whether they celebrate Halloween or not, the Brazilian community also stops on October 31 to party, do business or opt for a spiritual retreat. Directly or indirectly, we are a slice of the market that makes Halloween the holiday at which the most chocolate is sold, beating out Easter and Valentine’s Day in 2010! Happy Halloween or Hallelujah!