Saturday, October 01, 2005

Halloween time

We enjoy Halloween in our family, in a moderate way. When my kids were really little I finally came to terms with the holiday. I had a lot of anti-Halloween influences from Christians I knew in my later teen years, so that was a factor for a while. So... I did a bunch of research about Halloween.

I worked through the hearsay, lore, and historical research on Halloween's pagan origins (Roman and early Celtic customs), the layers added to it from a mix of early American customs (similar to how the American Christmas developed, but that's another topic!), the cultural changes to Halloween within the last 50 years, and the whole "worship Satan / honor witches, ghosts, goblins, ..." reputation (from some of the Samhain elements, I believe). I also learned a lot about the October 31 - November 2 Hispanic celebration of Los Dios de las Muertes, the Days of the Dead. I wrote a piece about it at the time: Halloween Time: Samhain, All Saints, Los Dios de Las Muertes.

Now I think the essence of Halloween is -- and has always been -- that everyone who wants to can come face-to-face with, or even dress up as, whatever scares them. I still don't like the gory/horror aspects, but I'm okay with skeletons now, and if my kids want to do a horror/creepy thing I think I'd let them. I wrote a very brief piece about this a few years ago: Some Halloween Thoughts.

I really like including some aspects of Los Dios de las Muertes. I have come to appreciate its less fearful, more party-like approach to death, and I think it's a good mix with Halloween (and All Saints Day). So I tend to decorate with happy Jack o'lanterns, spider webs, and such, but I'm on the lookout for skeleton decor to add to the mix!


Emily said...

Are there Hispanic bakeries around that make the appropriate sugar candies and baked goods? I'm sure we could also scrounge up some recipes with our resources

Barbara said...

You're stretching my knowledge! (Kicking my brain to get it started) Do you mean the skull candies etc? What a good idea. Hmmm...

Knitterheid said...

I liked your article. Too many people get too worked up about kids in costumes and candy... My son Aslan did his first turn last night. I dressed him up as a lion. I know, ridiculous.

Anyway, I came across your blog looking for yarn pictures. Visit mine if you get a chance, (The first entries are the best ;-)