I hate the modern form of Halloween! It’s become a greedy, American, commercialised, death-fest, completely losing sight of the very moving and ancient pagan tradition which was surviving quite nicely thank you. The night of the year when all the bad stuff could be released, the dead who could not leave were able to leave on this Night Before All Hallows, which was the blessed start of a new year.
So, tonight was about releasing the past, acknowledging there are things we are frightened of, and burning the fires which removed the painful memories. We cut faces into turnips or latterly pumpkins to put a candle inside, and placed that in the window to make sure the ghosts and ghouls did not come into our houses…… So, this was the Evening (‘een) before All Hallows, or All Saints. Now we get gangs of kids in plastic costumes holding us to ransom for sweets or gifts, and no doubt in years to come as the American/German traditions spread over here, that beggary will be backed up by threats to damage our houses if we say no to the little pests.
Now this year I notice there are masses of skeletons around, as if the Mexican Day-of-the-Dead tradition is being knitted into it all. If you go anywhere in France at this time of year, they are much closer to their old tradition and it has so much more meaning, because it is real! In the past I have gone along with this but it really gets my goat now, how we’ve lost our tradition, how we’ve just succumbed to the traditions of American, Germany and I think Ireland, how all the shops have piled onto this activity, flogging their plastic (indestructible, cheap, contaminating) clothes to the kids who know no better. But I really hate it now. Grrrr.