Monday, October 31, 2011

Creepy Blabbering

   We, on continental Europe don't celebrate Halloween. I don't want to celebrate that. All Hallows' Eve (Night), All Saints' Eve, Samhain. It's celtic tradition distorted by shallow American culture. I'm sorry if I offended some people's feelings, but I guess it's all what I can do in my life and I apparently do nothing more than going around and offending women, men, Divas, chickens and lentils.

Samhain, a Gaelic festival held October 31 - November 1st. It was at first harvest festival.
Good article on it is available here: Samhain: Season of Death and Renewal, so I will not bother anyone with another. If anyone has any questions regarding the theoretical background for the article, I can always help, but since I'm not versed in Celtic culture (although I used to read a lot about it, hey, my own nickname even), some things I can't explain. But some I can, like why during samhain 9 women were presiding over and during Belthaine - 9 men. 

But we do celebrate All Saints' day, which is, in my perspective, the only day during 365/366 days of the year that is slightly different, or at least it should be. Whether you are believer or not, Christian, Muslim or Buddhist, it does not matter because all religious systems have one day that is meant to be only for Spirits.
And this evokes solemn attitude, right? During All Saints' Night and All Souls' Night people usually allow their thoughts to be carried away to those places where Saints or departed souls are. All Saints' Day reminds everyone of saints - known and unknown, moreover - it reminds that everyone can be one, everyone is potential saint just by living his/her own life in a righteous way (do not confuse that with religious way, they rarely have anything in common, I'm talking about faith, be it secular faith or pious faith, it doesn't matter).
In Japan there is Obon day (お盆), in Korea there is Hangawi sometimes referred to as (추석, 秋夕) that is Chuseok. Both of those festivals, although held in different time, are similar in one aspect - they are the means to worship the ancestors, souls of dead family members etc.

I like Slavic tradition of it (Dyady). It's dark and full of rites. I like cemeteries during the evenings from Nov. 1 to Nov 3. They look like cities burning with lights. They are somehow 'alive'. One of the greatest ladies I have met said, when we were entering NYC, that to enter the city of living, one must first go through the city of dead. We passed vast cemetery covering kilometers before NY. It was an eerie feeling looking at all those tombs. It is also said that in Europe we thread on unnamed graves.

Why Halloween is reduced to the shape we know now? The answer is really simple: de-tabuization. Secularization is one of the forms of it. Just remember your childhood stories, and I bet there was some Fiend/Devil that was turned into imbecile by slightly smarter peasant. This is how human nature copies with fears and unknown - it reduces them to the "defeatable" shape, and defeats them. Terrible Devil is turned into moron that can be tricked by a kid.
Plus, this is also some influence from the protestant churches that rejected the idea of Purgatory.

pictures from here and here