Happy Halloween

Halloween is “All Hallows Even’ ” contracted. In other words it is the evening before All Hallows Day. All Hallows, means All Holies and then the actually used term of All Saints means the same. The Holiday for some families means dressing up like cowboys or princesses. But the real story of the holiday is one of a tug-of-war. Christians in Europe beyond the Mediterranean celebrated their beliefs and practices regarding the dead at the time pagan Europeans had the feast of Sawain. Sawain was a time in Druidic and related beliefs when the year moved from light to darkness  and the dead came to greet and feast with everyone but especially those who might die in or before the coming winter. Christians very much changed the holiday but some bits of local custom were always preserved. There were some of the ancient practices that clung to the holidays on All Saints which focused on all those in Heaven and All Souls which focused on all those in purgatory.  Then in the way that Catholic Christian cultures find ways to leave nothing out the old practices flocked to the day before and so you had Hell, Heaven and Purgatory observed in many places in an unofficial tridium.
Protestantism and secularism reached heights in America that stripped away all the observance of Heaven and Purgatory and so we were left with just hell on Halloween. That seemed a bit too devilish and pagan and so Halloween was largely tamed and made comical and safe where small children were involved.
In my family we seek as varied members to deal with all this complexity in a variety of ways. Halloween practices, HolyWeen Parties with children costumed as Saints, traditional Acadian and Mexican care for cemetary sites and many other things make up my memories. However, confusion and change are not usually better as regards holidays. In a perfect world holiday change is subtle and slow. So this has been the story of a complex family struggling and sometimes failing to make the best of a complex set of holidays. My sister Sarah and her group are not here but she always did one of the best and usually the best costuming for Holyween Saints parties for a while and led her sisters to a good place in that regard. I am not sure where Mary is who also did well in several years and Susanna is in Texas   
The picture above is a pumpkin lantern carved to honor All Saints and All Souls Days at Susanna’s house. They have their own abundant pumpkin patch for autumn foods and customs. 

My nephew Michael Carving Pumpkins, just before scooping


Thomas with an alternative pumpkin lantern matching his shirt

The boys and all of them enjoy a full and happy interaction with the family in their interpretation of this American ritual.  All of this is part of the struggle to do the best they can and that means having as much fun as possible in a positive way. 
Pumpkin Lanterns

My Sister Susanna and her husband Michael' family have lanterns honoring All Saints and All Souls

Whatever you do ye brave, ye proud, ye few, ye readers == Have a Happy Halloween, All Saints and All Souls Day, in your own best way.

One response to “Happy Halloween

  1. Pingback: Halloween and Elections, a Few Thoughts | Franksummers3ba's Blog

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