Thursday, November 03, 2011

Halloween, All Saints, and Pagan holidays

Halloween is just past, and  I had hoped to write this leading up to Halloween. However, I was too busy getting costumes ready, making icky potluck dishes, and spending way too much to make sure all the candy my family ate was all natural to get around to it.
Some people, including a few friends of mine, choose not to celebrate Halloween. Most of them are conservative Christians; a few have other religious beliefs but I'll be focusing on the Christian outlook.
Before I go any further I want to offer a disclaimer. I'm not judging why or if someone celebrates Halloween or not, nor am I trying to convince anyone to my viewpoint. I'm really just thinking aloud. (However, if you say you avoid Halloween and then have a "Harvest Party" the last week in October complete with candy and, sorry, but you ARE doing Halloween)
The two main reasons I see for not celebrating Halloween are because it a) a Pagan ritual and b) dark and or death focused.
Which is true on both counts.
Let's look at A. Halloween is a commercialization of the Pagan celebration, Samhain or All Hallow's Eve. Therefore a person whose religion tells them to avoid Pagan celebrations would have a good reason to avoid Halloween.
And- Christmas celebrations (Feast of Saturnalia) Valentine's Day ( Lupercalia) and Easter (Eostre) .
Most of the Christians I know who don't do Halloween do one or all of those holidays, usually in a similar manner to the rest of society. And why not? Trees, wreaths, candy in stockings, heart shaped candy, eggs, egg shaped candy..all awesome and fun.
I wonder if the underlying reason Halloween gets picked on is....B. The holiday celebrations we take from the Pagan celebrations of Saturnalia, Lupercalia, and Eostre are life affirming. But that's something we like to avoid at all costs in our society. So it makes sense that some will look at a holiday that looks death straight in the face as "evil".
In the Christian tradition,the day after Halloween is All Saint's Day. Given that it's the day after All Hallow's Eve, we can tell it's  more of the co-opting of Pagan ritual. But, I think that no matter which day you observe (or both!) we need that day. We need to look death in the face and we need to celebrate the beloved departed.
I'd rather do it all together.


At 5:01 PM, Blogger Krissy B. said...

As usual you hit these posts out of the ballpark. I would love to see you write a book some day, I for one would buy it!

Hope you are doing well and had a great Halloween! Will you post the costume photos later?


At 12:21 PM, Blogger gojirama said...

I never think of myself as good enough to get a book deal...I will try to get photos on the blog later!


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