Halloween and the Communion of Saints
Halloween is fun, is it not? But it has me worried--a bit. Our children want to wear scary costumes that have to do with killing. I'm thinking of those that dress like Jason in Friday the 13th.
When I see these kind of costumes, I am reminded that we really do live in a culture of death. We live in a world where new life is aborted or contracepted, and our sick and elderly are encouraged to commit suicide. WTF!
Lord, help us. Hear my plea.
This is why I prefer happy jack-o-lanterns and smiley, dancing scarecrows, to ghosts and scary creatures. And actually, Halloween was never meant to be scary. I don't know how such a dark view came about. It can't be a Wiccan influence because Wicca was started by Gerald Gardner around the 1950's. It merged a bit with some "new age" stuff, but anyway, I don't think Wicca influenced our Halloween customs. Wiccans like to celebrate Halloween because they think its anti-Christian and/or anti-cultural and it's their own. It's not. The Wiccans are confused. Just the fact that they congregate in Salem, MA to celebrate Halloween is confusing. Those poor "witches" that they are celebrating were good Christian girls and would be appalled at Wicca. They would disassociate themselves faster than you can say Boo.
And pagans from long ago worshipped gods and goddesses. No one dresses as Zeus or Apollo.
I've heard that the "scary" comes from the Celtic holiday, Samhain. Samhain marks the end of the harvest season. The celebration also brought to mind the ancestors and recently deceased loved ones. Perhaps this celebration influenced our modern conception of Halloween. But Samhain welcomed their ancestors. It wasn't scary, in fact, they set a place at their table in case a loved one did return.
I blame Hollywood for picking up the idea that our dead are scary. They promote death as scary and bad. Some people think it's fun to be scared. I can see it, as long as I'm scared in a theatre. But as a Catholic Christian, I regret this trend. Not only do I not think that death is evil; I think it is good. It is not the end; it is a beginning.
Catholics celebrate November 1st and 2nd. Nov. 1st is a celebration for those who we know are in heaven. We call them "hallowed" or "holy." Hence the night before is celebrated as "All Hallows Eve," just as we celebrate Christmas Eve before Christmas. It's a festival. Catholics love celebrations! That's not all! The party goes on. The very next day, November 2 we also celebrate for all our deceased loved ones. November 2 is called All Souls Day. Catholics don't forget our dear ones who have passed. We are still in communion with them. We talk to them still; by the way, that's called praying. We ask them to pray for us. We ask for their intercession and they pray for us.
Nice, huh? Matthew Kelly would call this "the genius of Catholicism."
I propose that we celebrate Halloween as Christ's victory over death. Let's put smiles on. Let's dress
as our "Hallowed" and look like heavenly beings. That's what I'll be celebrating.