Only those things are beautiful which are inspired by madness and written by reason. -Andre Gide
Sunday, October 31, 2010
All Hallows Eve
A friend of mine from high school posted on his Facebook earlier this week: “If anyone tells you that they don't celebrate Halloween because it is a pagan holiday, remind them that Christmas and Easter are too.”
This sounded right to me, but in the spirit of the holiday and in the spirit of proving idiots that come in my store wrong, I’ve done a little research.
Halloween’s most commonly traced lineage connects it to a Celtic holiday called Samhain, roughly meaning ‘summers’ End’. Several other cultures also had similar holidays and festivals including the Roman ‘Pomona’. Samhain celebrated the end of the lighter half of the year (spring and summer) and the beginning of the darker half of the year (fall and winter). It was believed that on this night the border between the corporeal world and the spirit world was thinned allowing spirits, both good and bad, to cross over. People wore masks and costumes to ward off the evil spirits by disguising themselves as one, but invited the good spirits, particularly those of their ancestors, into their homes. Samhain was also a time to slaughter livestock and take inventory of food supplies before winter hit.
Pagan is defined as “one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Greeks and Romans”, so I guess, because of the cultures that celebrated Samhain and Pomona, Halloween is a holiday for pagans.
Christmas and Easter are both more Christian in nature and background, but they still have pagan roots as well. Even Birthdays have a pagan heritage. I did the research on Halloween for you and I’ve even included the links to the Wikipedia pages for the others so this doesn’t sound too much like a book report.
To me, pagan, as it’s defined, is not necessarily a bad thing. Halloween was essentially a harvest celebration. Christians don’t harvest things? They don’t have seasonal changes? It’s ludicrous to me that you wouldn’t celebrate Halloween saying that it’s “against god”, or a “sin”. Enjoy the holidays whenever you can. Truly, you should be smart enough to know that you’re not summoning spirits on Halloween and if you’re not, you shouldn’t be able to walk around this world without a special helper. Halloween, just like Christmas, is about tradition and primarily about our children. It’s fun for kids to dress up and play a character. It’s fun for them to get spooked about witches and cartoon ghosts. These things are make believe.They’re no more real than The Legion of Doom. Get over yourself and your hyper-religious nonsense. It makes you sound like a complete buffoon when you denounce a holiday because it’s origin HUNDREDS of years ago. Remember the definition of Pagan from earlier? Polytheistic. I’ll leave you with one phrase.