Archive for the ‘halloween’ tag
from the Huffington Post
by Grove Harris
Halloween, or Samhain, is celebrated in many ways, some religious, some spiritual and many secular. It is a religious holiday that has entered the general American cultural ethos and is celebrated with trick-or-treating and costume parties. The vivid orange and black colors associated with the day bring to mind the colors of bare trees silhouetted against the autumn sunset, and the turning of the season towards the coming winter’s darker and colder days. Jack-o-lanterns, carved from the fall’s pumpkin harvest, add their orange color as well as flickering candle light in the growing darkness.
It is not surprising that people are at least somewhat sensitive to this turning of the wheel of the year, and its evocation of the cyclic nature of life and the inescapable route towards death. The evening’s darkness comes earlier and earlier, and at least in New England, leaves fall and in years gone by were burned in local streets, adding the light of flames and the smell of smoke to the season. The pungent smell of sweet apples adds to the season’s treats.
In recent years, neighborhood trick-or-treating has moved indoors to school celebrations, partly out of safety concerns. For most this is a cultural, secular and safe celebration, although with the danger of tooth decay. For others, the sensitivity towards spiritual underpinnings of the cultural expression leads to concerns about participation. For example, some Muslims both dislike and respect this religiosity by choosing not to have their children involved. Objection and refusal to participate can be a form of respect.