Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Taking a Fun Day Too Seriously (that's me!)

Yesterday's post got me thinking more about Halloween. I found interesting the following entry in the Celtic Daily Prayer book about this date, All Hallows Eve:

"This night is known in popular culture as Halloween, a time of witches, pumpkins, hobgoblins and ghosts. It is a popular and highly commercialized holiday in America, imported long ago from Ireland. The old pagan festival was Samhain; in pastoral terms, this marked the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new, the passing of summer and the beginning of winter. The livestock were brought in, and any surplus animals were slaughtered soon aftewards -- so bone-fires were lit.

The old belief was that there was danger and vulnerability at this time of transition, which was neither in one year nor in the next. Spiritual barriers could be dissolved. These old beliefs were never quite eradicated by the coming of Christianity, but lingers as a persistent superstition, a residual folk-memory. The real Christian festival is All Hallows or All Saints on November 1."

The contrast between All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day on back-to-back days is interesting to me. It reminds me that we actually need vivid reminders of the dark, uncertain, and dangerous in order to fully be prepared to appreciate and receive the contrasting light and safety that follows.

Maybe that explains my fascination with horror movies. Last weekend, the Friday the 13th movies were on TV. I stopped everytime I flipped past, too fascinated to turn the channel. "Yes!" I screamed. Rebekah always made me turn the channel before the really good stuff. I guess she provided the November 1st to my October 31st! Why do I actually like to watch?

I guess we need this annual reminder of the contrast.


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