Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween confusion

It's been a surprisingly quiet Hallowe'en here at the Rectory. A couple of small kids properly supervised by nearby parent and one group of teenagers. We were well armed with a good supply of fun-size Twix, but still have most of them. Still a bit to go. Also, not too many fireworks, although they are about the only thing our dog isn't scared of (he fears people, dogs, the dishwasher, balloons, a greeting card I received with collies on...)

According to Jonathan Ross this morning Hallowe'en or All Hallows Eve is a pagan festival. I know what he means - the Christians parked a festival on top of a pagan one (as we did for Easter, Christmas, etc) but the pagan festival was Samhain, not All Hallows Eve.

Meanwhile some Christians worry about people being drawn into evil by participating. Not quite sure how buying spider-web crisps from Marks and Spencer puts in the hands of demons. You could make a socialist observation about secular capitalism needing symbolic moments it doesn't really believe in to exploit us. As my friend Steve observes, some people think commercialisation will draw people into the evil of Halloween and then immediately moan that it takes people away from the reality of Christmas. It can't do both!

Maybe we need to rediscover celebrating 'Eves' instead of spending weeks marking a festival so we're fed up with it when it finally arrives.

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