Halloween in this country is a colorful festival to
say the least, but one that seems to strangely celebrate
the opposite of everything "good". Its imagery promulgates
death and horror, and depicts haunted ghosts and evil
witches flying off to commit malevolence! (Probably, that's
how all that toilet paper wound up on your trees!) It's
practice sets flames inside of pumpkin heads and impels
pranks involving soap, decorates the halls with boughs of
phony human bones and garlands of fake cobwebs and inspires
parties based on the idea of hiding our real life personae
inside of award-winning facades of hideous monsters,
mutants, miscreants, or vicious and brutal animals. (And a
fairy princess, shining knight, teddy bear, or silver
screen idol or two for good measure.) And the other side of
"Trick", is "Treat", where young children are encouraged to
don the masks of our darkest side, for the odd reward of
massive quantities of unwholesome candies!
As happens with several of our holidays, in the
present age, I have heard the question posed many times,
"What DOES this MEAN?" It would seem that we fear these
festivals might be dangerous, or that we have lost all
clues about our traditions.
But in each case I have
examined, I find not merely clues, but copious material.
(The library is a wonderful place!) Because my own ancestry
is a nice blend of Celts from Scandinavia, northern and
north-central Europe, and the Isles, most of what I've
pursued has been on that pathway. On this pilgrimage I have
learned that Halloween is a seminal point on the ancient
Pastoral cultures divided their calendars according
to the seasons of the year, and heavily influenced of
course by the weather - which lags behind the factors in
the Earth's real orbit. It is a...