Well that’s over for another year. Thank the Goddess!
I’ve been beating my head against a brick wall about Halloween for years and now a few friends have been asking on social media why so many people in Australia get bent out of shape about Halloween. “It’s just a bit of fun”. For my answer to that particular comment see my last post – Does it Matter.
Some get annoyed because of the eroding of Australia’s culture by what they see as ‘Americanisation’.
For me at least, I get annoyed about Halloween being observed in Australia primarily because of the misunderstandings surrounding it and being perpetuated for the next generation, and because it is happening here at the wrong time of year. October 31 is Beltane in the southern hemisphere as evidenced by the new life all around us. The energy is all wrong for a Festival of the Dead.
I have no problem with people wanting to observe Halloween, but I do have a problem when we are told to get over it, or we are kill joys or whatever simply because we won’t participate or encourage participation in it – these people completely ignoring the fact that this is a pagan time, we are pagan, and therefore doesn’t that give us a right to have an opinion about what’s happening to our ‘holy’ days?
To help with some of the misunderstandings, here are a few facts.
- Halloween is the Christianisation of a greater sabbat (Samhain). Samhain marks the beginning of winter when everything is dying off. It is the time of the third and final harvest, when everything is brought in for winter stores. The world is going to sleep. The veil between our world and the spirit world is thin (as it is at Beltane the opposing greater sabbat) and the dead are said to more easily move among us (hence the Death Festival part).
- Halloween per se is not a pagan celebration but the Christian All Hallows Eve (day before All Saints Day) put on the same day as Samhain to more easily convert the peasants. It’s also one of many Festivals of the Dead in many cultures.
- BUT trick or treating IS exclusively American introduced by them in the 1940s and never formed part of the original festival. Many Australians don’t like this aspect of the festival happening here because it further erodes our own culture.
- Samhain occurs here 1 May – and coincidentally we have our own honouring of the dead at this time on Anzac Day (which of course is not a pagan event but ironic nonetheless and gives us an opportunity to honour those departed at a time when the earth’s energy is winding down for winter sleep).
So you might ask, if Halloween isn’t a pagan festival but a Christianisation of one, why am I getting upset about it?
It just annoys me that pagans continue to be vilified and misunderstood but those who do it happily dress their kids in pagan symbols on this one night and have them participate in a ritual event without even understanding what it is….. because “It’s just a bit of fun”. In addition, it is a constant reminder of the subjugation of one spirituality by another – that continues even to this day. (Other examples are Christmas and Easter.)
I am not against people who want to participate in Halloween or allow their kids to go trick or treating. In fact on my Beltane altar, my cauldron had some lollies in it for the kids I knew would turn up because I do understand some people want to get involved. Plus it’s a killer turning a little 3 year old fairy away from the door who went to so much trouble and who must have been looking forward to this for days!
But do not tell me the eroding of our pagan beliefs is “just a bit of fun” and expect me not to be upset about it. Lately we hear much about the need for respect for all faiths.
When is it our turn?