Halloween: holy horror or pure fun?
Last week I participated in a programme on Net TV discussing children and the Internet. During the programme we were analysing research published on the subject.
I had an unexpected verbal spat with a female caller who among other things said that she refused to let her daughter go to a Halloween party organised by her school, which, if I understood correctly, is a Church school. I disagreed with the lady in question saying that in my opinion a lot of unnecessary fuss is being made about Halloween. She reacted strongly pointing to something said on Radju Marija as the definitive proof that my views were nefarious ones. I begged to differ and upped the ante by referring to a piece I penned last year in The Sunday Times wherein I criticised the position taken by the Curia on the subject. The lady was appalled. I am glad that she is not the Grand Inquisitor as I would have probably been turned into barbequed meat.
A couple of days after the programme I received an email from a distraught mother. She was shocked that I dared to say publicly that I do not agree with the statement released by the Curia. She accused me of undermining the hard work that so many parents are doing to keep their children on the straight and narrow path. The letter, mind you, is written in the most respectful manner. But the underlying tone is quite clear: I am a corrupter of values.
While acknowledging that in the past 62 (almost) years I contributed my fair share to things not right – during Mass I everyday declare myself to be a sinner – I doubt whether I qualify for the title subtly attributed to me.
Since the Halloween bashers have once more been unleashed let me briefly re-visit the subject.
I cannot understand why some people get so hot under the collar if a priest disagrees with a statement released by the Curia. The Catholic Church, throughout the centuries, bred and nourished a different kind of mentality. Ever since St Paul had quite a big tiff with St Peter (and proudly bragged about it in one of his letters which we believe are inspired by the Holy Spirit!) the Catholic Church has been the agora of contrasting ideals and ideas. This is how we progressed.
Besides, I am totally aghast at the exaggeration of some Halloween bashers. Some of them say that Halloween exposes people to sadism, sexual violence, Satanism, torture, mutilation and strange killing. This exaggeration beggars belief.
Last year I wrote about the two children of friends of mine who went to a Halloween party.
The boy dressed as a skeleton while the girls dressed as a witch. Horrors of horrors the boy carried a pumpkin while the girl sported a broom. They enjoyed themselves immensely. At the appointed time the broom they had so diligently carried with them did not take off (as the Halloween bashers seem to predict) and they had to be picked up by their parents.
This year I asked their parents whether they noticed any negative effects on the behaviour or attitudes of their children as a result of their participation in Halloween celebrations. They noticed nothing of the sort. Were they skinning black cats or worshipping Satan? Do they fall into a trance whenever there is a full moon? Their answer was a definitive nope.
People don’t care about the origins of Halloween – whatever they are. Today people celebrate it because they just love to celebrate. Any excuse suffices for one to get a bit of fun. People invent all sorts of excuses to indulge in revelry. People who celebrate Halloween do not care about Druids and Wiccas; they just care about the present merriment.
Something similar is also happening to Christian festivals. Believers and non-believers celebrate, for example Christmas, but the meaning of the feast is radically different for the two groups. Most secularists do not feel that there are undermining their secular beliefs by celebrating Christmas since they totally ignore its’ origins. They just love the drinks and the gifts.
It is amazing how some people see a devil lurking around every corner. Do you remember the fuss about the dangers of sorcery and superstation when the Harry Potter’s mania was at its best? Harry Potter was about the victory of friendship and love; not about sorcery.
I have just read that a group of Russian Orthodox believe that the Apple logo is sacrilegious. They are saying that the image of bitten fruit triggers thoughts of the Bible's forbidden fruit, consumed by Adam and Eve. They consider this symbol as anti-Christian and want it banned. It seems that there is no limit to the stupidities that some people believe!
Don’t try to spoil the fun of the Halloween revellers. You will not succeed.