In Russia’s case, this would be the right question. Really, we discovered its existence in the 90s watching American movies.
To Russians, this funny holiday is something like St. Valentine’s Day or what we call a ‘Western Christmas’ on Dec. 25.
Those newly-born holidays came from the West when Russia turned its face this direction in the 90s. They are now more or less accepted in my country.
The #1 thing is surely Valentine’s Day for an obvious reason. This was an easy one to embrace.
I personally think that the origins and aesthetics of Halloween come from an ancient Druid tradition. I specially didn’t check it before writing this blog; let the readers correct me if I’m wrong.
We don’t really celebrate it the way they do it in the U.S. with giant hills of pumpkins in the supermarkets. We don’t do trick or treat on this day though we do have this custom on Kolyadki, an ancient non-Christian tradition that happens in January. But one can still find some pumpkins in our stores plus other theme décor.
The very funny thing is that the Russian Orthodox church now officially condemns it. It happened just recently. They say this is something like a Satanic celebration that is alien to Russians.
The silly condemnation of Halloween is one of many reasons why I despise the ROC.
To me this is just a funny and colourful holiday, mostly for kids. As it came recently to Russia, I myself don’t have any childhood memories to recall. But last Halloween I made an empty pumpkin with a candle inside it for my kids, just for fun. To my surprise, they told me that in their kindergarten they celebrate it.
Soon I’m going to cut another pumpkin and put a candle inside it. Just to frighten my daughters by this Satanic device with flames inside.
Halloween – WTF?
I was brought up in a home where there was no celebration of this particular festival, which meant that I was either going to remain completely ambivalent towards it, or I would make the effort to find out more and maybe start commemorating it in some way. I chose the former.
Even in my sixties, I still haven’t acquired the slightest interest. On the odd occasion I may be invited to a party to celebrate, I find the dressing up completely tedious and time consuming, and the whole caboodle odious and rather pointless. (Except for the imbibing of copious amounts of fermented grapes.)
The trick-or-treating is simply a grotesque way for today’s youngsters to run amok, upsetting as many old people as they can along the way. It might be for only one night per year, but why are they allowed unlimited sweets, or candy as Dean would call it, so they all become high as a kite on sugar, and unable to sleep for three days?
And for this, I have to apologise to my American friends, because it looks like the Yanks, who like their candy more than any other nation on earth, took this tradition from us Brits; it dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England, which saw children beg for food, to be given pastries called “soul cakes” in return for these kids promising to pray for the family’s dead relatives. In later days, the children would be given ale, food and money. Mea Culpa, mea maxima culpa.
I originally thought that Halloween was an event specifically for children, but hang on a minute, it’s also the one day a year when it becomes normal to recognize the dark side of life. You know, loads of skulls, gravestones, bats, fangs and velvet cloaks. You get away with walking in the street looking like the living dead. How suitable for today’s youngsters. No wonder so many are growing up acting like dickheads and complete twats.
Anyway, just to be sociable, I am going to a local Halloween party at the end of this month. Actually, it’s nothing to do with being sociable, it’s Mrs B telling me I’m going. But at least the wine at this venue is decent, so all is not lost, even if my soul is.
Frightened people have been celebrating Halloween for centuries. It’s believed the Celts started the whole mess about 2,000 years ago. See, November 1st was the traditional first day of the new year so Celts would build great bonfires the night before, dress-up as animals and tell each other’s fortunes.
Well, the Church can’t have all this Pagan fun going on so Pope Gregory III decided to make November 1st All Saints Day. Cool… then the night before became All Hollows Eve. I cannot think of a case where the Church failed in a more awe-inspiring way to snuff out a Pagan Holiday. Seriously, the Catholic Church is responsible for all the witches and goblins running around on the 31st.
When I was a child we would dress-up and muck around the neighborhood collecting heaping mounds of candy. Adults really didn’t celebrate Halloween. I assume I’ll forgive my now Sainted Mother for taking half the candy away, someday, maybe. But not yet.
Today in the US children no longer run around loose at night. Malls, businesses, and even Municipal Governments have areas that are safe for children. Of course, many still go around the neighborhood, but not like back in the day.
Instead, today sees Halloween as a major adult holiday. There are numerous parties where everybody dresses up and consumes vast quantities of Witches Brew. Those Squid Games guys with white circles rule the night and black cats are again in fashion. In fact, in America the holiday has seriously grown in popularity. The party schedule probably only trails Christmas. Another holiday where the Church tried to snuff out fun only to create a delightful excuse for consuming alcohol.
The irony is that the number of people celebrating Mass next weekend will pale beside the number of people celebrating Halloween. Maybe the Church can create more holidays? How about Monk’s Day? There is a big stretch in August and September where we don’t really have a proper excuse to get all dressed-up and messed-up. And those haircuts are crazy cool!