Sunday, 31 October 2010

Trick or Treat?

Yes it is the end of October - All Hallows Eve.  That time of year when the shops have just one more day to go before they can put out their Christmas decorations.  And a time for the whole world to go pumpkin crazy.  What is it about this holiday that people love so much?  My friend told me the answer, it is a time for adults to dress up and no-one will stop and sneer and say what are you doing??  And it's true, I went to a Halloween party last night, it was.....impressive.

There was Batman and Robin, Indiana Jones, a gangster and his moll, Cleopatra, Christmas elves, surgical patient gone wrong, a cat, lots of witches and several people with token horns or just a mask, relying on the plastic horror to count as the whole outfit.  I went as a devil with horns, tail and wings - it was an interesting experience especially when trying to sit down as the dang thing kept getting in the way!  Dressing up gives you license to be a big kid and leap around and have fun and lets face it as adults we really don't get the chance to do that very often.

The celebration of Halloween comes from an older festival known as Samhain which celebrates the end of summer and the beginning of winter.  It was also believed that the veil between this world and the next is thinner on All Hallows Eve so messages of love and remembrance can be made to those you have lost whereas evil spirits need to be warded off by wearing masks and scaring them away.  I think, like all of our festivals, it is sad that the true meaning has been lost in a sea of commercialism - it is a nice idea to think that today we can celebrate the lives of those we have loved and lost but I doubt that the great unwashed will even consider the concept.

Why do we say trick or treat?  For those of you who haven't yet managed to fall comes from medieval times when the poor would offer to say a pray for your dead in exchange for some food.  These days it is more likely to be eggs thrown at your door if you don't make quick with the chocolate.  I hope that if you go trick or treating, or perhaps dress up for your own Halloween party you can find a few moments to light a candle and just remember your loved lost ones, I am sure they will be listening.

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