Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween and a Can of Worms

Photo Credit Photo Credit

To do, or not to do, that is the question! We've just 'celebrated' Halloween here in Australia. In the past, I've never really thought a lot about it. It's never been a big thing over here, so I haven't really had to think about it much. For some reason though, it really took off this year over here. It's been interesting reading people's responses to Halloween, both on Facebook and on various blogs... there are a lot of opinions out there and I must say, it's gotten me quite confused!

In Australia at least, there seems to be two main reasons that people are against Halloween: 1.) It's part of the American culture, so why bring it to Australia? Keep it in the US where it belongs (or thoughts along those lines) or; 2.) It's part of the occult and we shouldn't be involved in anyway, no matter how harmless it seems.

So, let me address each of these:

1.) It's part of the American culture, so why bring it to Australia?
As I've said many times in this blog, I'm an American. I've never lived over there, but my mum and her family are from there and in many ways, my heart belongs over there too. So, for American traditions to creep into Australia, I don't mind so much! It brings a little piece of the home I've never actually lived in, to my home here in Australia. So, yes, I'm a little biased in that regard. I don't know how I'd feel about it if I didn't have an American heritage... but I love, love, love the US so I'm pretty open to it!

I'm amazed that Halloween has started to take off here... I remember years ago, when I was still in primary school, I dressed up in my nurses dress up outfit and went trick or treating with Mum and my brother/s. We only did the street and our block and when we got home, the only thing we actually 'scored' was an apple! None of our neighbours had any clue really that it was Halloween. These days, even if you aren't prepared (and don't have candy at the ready), most people will have some inkling that it's happening around them.

2.) It's part of the occult and we shouldn't be involved in anyway, no matter how harmless it seems.
This point isn't as easy to make a decision on. I'm really not sure which way I sway. I hear one argument and think that person has a valid point, but then I hear from the other side of the argument and think that that person has as just a valid point as the first person.

My biggest contention FOR Halloween is that Halloween, Easter and Christmas (along with other dates in the year) were originally pagan rituals that became Christianised. If I were to 'boycott' Halloween because it originated from pagan rituals, I feel that in order not to become hypocritical, I would need to also boycott celebrating Christmas and Easter because they also have pagan origins. I can't imagine doing that, especially seeing as my husband is a pastor and Christmas and Easter are the two main seasons on the church calendar, not to mention the fact that I wouldn't want to boycott them!

One of the best arguments I've come across to combat the above thought, is that Christmas and Easter have a very specific purpose in the church calendar, and it celebrates the birth and death/resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, Halloween does not have this. Although, the church do have "Reformation", "All Saints Day" and "Harvest Festival" (lesser known here in Australia), they aren't actually associated with Halloween celebrations.

My Conclusion?
Actually, I don't have one! Because there are so many arguments for and against Halloween in light of the occult, it's really hard to make a decision. Because my heart errs on many/most things US, I think my persuasion for Halloween is "to do", (I can't work out which side I agree with regarding point 2 above, whereas I wholehearted don't have a problem with American traditions coming to Australia, so it kind of defaults to the 'yes' answer as opposed to the 'I'm not sure' answer) but I would try to tone it down a little in regards to the gore factor etc.

Little Spring was too young to participate in Halloween this year, but if we were to choose for her to be involved in future years, I think I would like her to be dressed up in something less occultish (such as witch, vampire, zombie etc - the 'stereotypical Halloween costume) and something a little more gentle (such as an animal, a particular person, TV character etc (which isn't so big yet here in Australia, but is much more common in the States now).

This year, I bought up big with the candy/chocolate as I was advised that the neighbourhood kids are big on trick or treating in this area. To get into the spirit (no pun intended!) of the occasion, I also bought a carved pumpkin candy jar to put the chocolates in and a couple of fake spiders to hang out the front.

I have so much to think about for next year. I would really value any opinions you may have on the matter, to help me clear my head!

(NB: I haven't gone through all the arguments that I've come across; there are so many of them and I didn't want to confuse you as well. If you are interested in some of the arguments I found, please click here or here. These were the main 2 sites that I came across.)

1 comment:

  1. My thoughts are, if you want to celebrate it in Australia that's fine, just learn the customs and etiquitte first! Rather than scoff (the parents) that the person who doens't have a lantern, or their front light on doesn't have any "candy".