Thursday, 31 October 2013

Hallowe'en Time Again


It's Hallowe'en again, with all it's related dramas.  We have Southern Hemisphere Pagans saying it's not Hallowe'en because it's Beltaine.

Well, no, that's not actually true.  Hallowe'en is a Catholic/Christian vigil for the night before All Saints Day.  It's Hallowe'en on October 31st regardless of where in the world you are, it's just not Samhain for us on that date.

Then there are the Pagans who find traditional, historically correct depictions of witches offensive and use Hallowe'en as their soapbox to bleat about it. Let's get real for a moment.  Before the 1950s, when Gardner redefined it, witchcraft meant malicious folk magic.  The cunning folk of the past thousand years that we're trying to reconstruct or emulate would have been horrified at being referred to as "witches".  Many of the spells I've been reading in old books are protection against witchcraft.  Please note - not protection against bad witchcraft, or against evil witchcraft or against black, malicious, malevolent or anything else witchcraft - just protection against witchcraft.

Just because one group have chosen to use a word does not automatically give them the right to redefine it for everyone else or for the rest of history.  It is not religious discrimination or bigotry to depict or define witches as evil, ugly old hags - it's the correct traditional meaning.

Then there is this kind of rubbish - while yes, most of the principles are sound, I'm still struggling with the whole dictating what treats are suitable to give to random children coming to your door.  But I also have issues with this asshattery again while agreeing in principle.

To be honest, I struggle with the whole Trick or Treat thing at Hallowe'en anyway.  Maybe it's because here in New Zealand it's only just starting to be done.  In my 40 years I've seen two trick or treaters come to my door - ever.

My issues are that we spend the entire year teaching our children not to take sweets from strangers, but on that one night, we're supposed to totally contradict ourselves and send them out to demand it?

And then if you don't like what you get for your demands it's okay to commit acts of vandalism?

I find this a bit of an issue.  Maybe it's because I'm the mother of a child on the autism spectrum - I can't have "sometimes" rules.  The rule is either this or it's that.  If there is one loophole then the rule is invalid.  I don't think this kind of consistency is a bad thing for any parent - regardless of whether or not your child is autistic in any way.

I've read the Celtic history and some that were worse than that too.  I know the practical history.  This was the last night of hijinks before Winter had you closed up indoors.  If all of your food for the coming winter wasn't prepared and stored properly (or if you hadn't saved enough) there was a high chance you'd die before spring.

Given that these are no longer issues in our society, is it still a relevant thing to celebrate? 

Given that I've been hearing stories about poisoned or drugged "treats" being handed out by sickos for the last 20 years, is it a safe thing to celebrate?  Even with parental supervision.

Given that we're constantly complaining about the sense of entitlement youth seem to have, that kids today have no manners or respect for anything, why would we encourage it even once a year?

Either way

Happy Hallowe'en :p

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