I’ve been reading a lot of articles recently that have people arguing and stating their opinions on Halloween and why it should or should not be celebrated. Not thinking that my opinion is that ground-breaking or really very interesting, I just wanted to get it out on cyber-paper.

Most people know the basic history of the holiday and to make a long story short this how I would sum it up….

Molly’s Slightly Messy and Pseudo- Accurate View of How History Went Down

A long time ago there were two kinds of people in a certain part of the world (a sweeping generalization I know but go with me). These two kinds of people became known as Christians and everyone else. Eventually the group known as “Everyone else” became known as pagans, whether these people truly practiced polytheism or idol worship or “demon” worship or were just those unlucky people to live in remote, rural corners of this world. Go Here to see a brief descriptions of the meaning and origin of the world “pagan”.

Well, all these “pagans” (a sweep generalization of term if ever there was one) celebrated all sorts of different festivals, usually these festivals happened around certain times of year like the solistices and other recognizable natural occurrences, because with watches and calendars this was the easiest way to recognize the passage of time. These festivals were time to celebrate major happenings in their lives or just the fact that they had survived another year and of course were mixed in to whatever kind of religious ideas were prevalent in that area.

One of these particular festivals falls around the time of year where people wanted to celebrate because the long harvest season was over and they knew if they had grown enough food to last them through the winter. This time of year was also (freak snow storms excluded) the time before you had to bunker down in your homes and possible not see a good number of people for a long time as you tried to survive until spring. A reason to celebrate indeed and with that in mind its easy to see how a celebration like this grew to encompass a “day of the dead” celebration as well. “Let’s celebrate having enough food and the backbreaking labor is over for this year with our friends who we might not ever see again because who knows who’ll be alive come winter. Speaking of people we might not ever see again let use our couple days of leisure to remember those who’ve died before us, that’ll be a nice way of tempering the wild party.”

Elsewhere there was this growing group of people called “Christians” who also celebrated holidays, etc. Well these Christians started exploring the world and began to run into all of these “pagans” practicing their holidays. These Christians wanted the “Everyone Else” group to be Christian so began a long process of celebrating holidays around the same time.

My theory? Imagine a neighbor tells you they’re throwing a party, upon hearing this you decide “I know how to throw a better party than that guy” and so you decide to prove this by having your party on the same night as that friend and right next door. You call over all your friends and you get out your music and whip up your best food and try to convince the people across the street to come over and party with you because you can throw a better party.

Well eventually you’ve got two party’s going on and probably have people going back and forth between the two because person A has better food, however person B has better music, etc. If this party went on long enough you’d begin to get people just mulling around between the two. Maybe the speakers have been put facing out a window and people have commandeered the chip bowl to the patio table.

Year’s go by and let say you’ve convinced most people that you know how to throw the better party and you continue to do so, however you can’t help but notice that your neighbors recipe for chip dip always makes its way over and other little leftovers from the party’s from years past.

That is probably a horrible example of how the current celebration of Halloween has come to past, but I kind of like it so it’s going to stay for now. To put names to my example and to keep it simple here we go.

Though technically All-Saints was originally observed on May 13, which still coincided with a pagan (see here that pagan actually means Ancient Roman) holiday called the Feast of Lemures. After the Ancient Roman holiday had been full encorporated as All-Saints and they discovered those pesky Celts, the date of celebration for All-Saints was changed to coincide with the harvest festival of Samhain, which seems very similar to the Feast of Lemures. The Christians had their neighbors celebrating festivals like Samhain and decided to switch over one of their holidays so that the two different parties were falling around the same time and slowly over time the two combined (like the Feast of Lemures and All-Saints had done a couple hundred years previously as well) giving us, eventually, the modern day Halloween.

So how do you treat modern day Halloween?

Well I say not too much differently than it has been celebrated. Halloween itself has become a secular holiday for most intents and purposes. I think it’s okay to say that most of us don’t believe that by dressing up as someone else and going around to different houses you’re “confusing the spirits”, or that if we dress like a witch than we suddenly have magic powers or that our jack-o-lanterns carved with the visage of Bobafet or the like are lighting the way for lost spirits. Nope, rather most of us are just using the holiday to have some fun. So if you’re okay with this go out and dress up, show off your kids in their cute costumes and ward off the imminent sugar rush.

If you don’t want to celebrate the holiday because of it’s pagan connections by all means don’t, but I could right another couple cyber-pages on how just about every ritual in our lives stems from something “pagan” because the “Everyone Else” group was around long before the Christians. However, I would beg you not to rain on our parades, most of us are just using Oct. 31st as a reason to have a little fun.

If you want this weekend to more reverent in preparation to All-Saints go ahead, it’s a lovely traditional holiday that get easily overshadowed by store-bought costumes and piles of candy-loot. I personally like this idea, especially as a way to temper the rampant consumerism that now drives this secular holiday, but I’d advise you (especially if you have kids) to find some way to have a little fun this week. Infact there are many little essay like this floating around about ways to turn the secular traditions of the holiday into something a little more reverent.

This will is the low-down on how we will be spending our Halloween weekend. In it’s basics it’s not to much different than”Let’s celebrate having enough food and the backbreaking labor is over for this year with our friends who we might not ever see again because who knows who’ll be alive come winter. Speaking of people we might not ever see again let use our couple days of leisure to remember those who’ve died before us, that will be a nice way of tempering the wild party.”

1. “Let’s celebrate having enough food and the backbreaking labor is over for this year” Why are we kicking back and having fun? Because this is a time of celebration for us. We can celebrate this year that even though I go off contract from work for three months on Nov. 1st we will be okay, we will survive the winter! This is a big deal when faced with one of us possibly having no income for 3 months and its the first time ever we’ve been in such a comfortable situation for the winter. So we will celebrate!

2. “with our friends who we might not ever see again because who knows who’ll be alive come winter.” This might seem a little morbid but it’s kind of true for us. When November 2nd rolls around most of the people we know in this town will leave, whether it’s to return to their homes after their contracts are over or to go seek out more work over the winter months they are going to leave. Some of them we know we will see shortly, but some of them aren’t coming back next year so we will take this weekend as a last chance to be with them for awhile.

3. “Speaking of people we might not ever see again let use our couple days of leisure to remember those who’ve died before us, that will be a nice way of tempering the wild party.” On November 1st we will be attending church for All-Saints Day. This will in fact be my first time recognizing this holiday, as I was brought up protestant and I am excited to learn about it. And knowing that I’ve got a long day of church and my closing day at work will temper any desire to go really crazy on Halloween Eve.

4. Last but not least… we’ve been planing our costumes in one way or another since April, and we can’t wait to show them off.

So that’s my very long two cents. Happy Halloween however you choose to celebrate it!

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