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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Halloween is interesting in that it is uniquely North American in many respects, though the festival has roots that go back to the Celtic Samhain and earlier. It's a holiday that is not liked much by church or state yet it persists. I like it because it is not quite politically correct. It's always a little bit wrong and though the PC police keep trying to clean it up and make it safer, they don't realize that its power and popularity stem from its breaking of the rules, its transgressions against the norms and its danger. Halloween is when we let our fears out.

Though we've grown pretty used to it, it is nevertheless very strange that on this one night we encourage our children to dress as demons or zombies or witches and roam the neighborhood to collect candy. And, whether we make these pumpkins into pie or not, if we're a North American householder, we'll probably have one on our porch, suitably carved with an evil grin and, when you think about it, that's pretty strange too.

10 comments:

USelaine said...

It seems there is less and less trick-or-treating here anymore. Too much fear of real people, not the fantasies. But I continue to buy a bag of candy to have in a bowl by the door, just in case.

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Sally said...

One of the best defences of Halloween I've ever seen! We resist it here because it is seen as Americanising the young, but I love the subversiveness! Too little of that these days. I think what really gets up my nose is when things are just adopted holus-bolus for commercial purposes.

Sydney Daily Photo

Abraham Lincoln said...

Halloween is a time when little kids can become maniacs and a bit loony without getting yelled at.

I am 74 years old -- today is my birthday.

Saretta said...

Halloween has been imported to Italy...purely for commercial purposes, which just makes me sick. Do we really need another reason to buy things?

Laurie said...

I feel exactly the same way. I love that Halloween is an in-your-face reminder of those Pagan roots of ours -- and a great excuse to explore the shadow and be a little weird. My husband and I love this time of year so much, we got married on October 29!

www.niamhphotography.com said...

food for thought.

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Hope said...

All very strange....but so much fun! Our family loves Halloween!

Kris said...

Halloween strikes me as an odd kind of holiday. Do kids get the day off?

I knew of its Irish roots, but had always assumed that it was a US thing, forgetting about Canada.

Benjamin Madison said...

Kris: No, it's not a statutory holiday. And yes it has roots in European culture but much of its modern manifestation is home-grown in North America over the last hundred years. IMHO its our only truly popular festival.