Sunday, October 31, 2004

Regarding Halloween

Josh Claybourn's post tells all you need to know about the day, including a couple of links to round out the picture. Go read the rest. It's not too long.

Joshua Claybourn's Domain: "Halloween began as the Celtic New Year. On that day, the Irish believed, the dead returned to earth, says Broedel. 'The Irish believed the dead could come back and wave 'Hi.' Most of the ghosts were considered friendly, and the dead's visit wasn't linked to the devil or anything evil, for that matter. That association came later.' This seems to be the biggest difference between what Broedel is saying, and what many Evangelicals profess. Broedel suggests 'the dead' would historically be the 'good' spirits, and that over time - especially recently - the evil spirits have become the focus. Some Christians will probably disagree.
Eventually the holiday was Christianized, becoming All Saints' Day and then All Souls' Day. Most Halloween traditions are Christian, according to Broedel. Trick-or-treating, for example, evolved from the practice of collecting alms for the poor to save your soul. "

Update: Josh Claybourn now contributes to the group blog In the Agora.

Our neighbors across the street are from Mexico. They were decorating the yard for Halloween last week and I spoke with the high school son about their customs. I incorrectly presumed from past exposure to dias de los muertos that it was a rather over the top version of Halloween. The boy said that in most of Mexico people in the country honor the saints that have died, and the observance is on November 1 and 2. In and around Mexico City and other urban areas, however, the emphasis is more on October 31 and the religious significance is being lost to commercial interests. Too bad.
Stories like that don't help me worship the marketplace with the same fervor as my libertarian friends.

No comments: