Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's Halloween. Go ahead and have fun.

Halloween.  Short for All Hallow's Eve, or the vigil of All Saints Day.  Perhaps more transparently in Christmas Eve and the Easter vigil, celebrating a holiday the night before is certainly not some inherent mockery of the holiday.  If you lived in Detroit, you'd recognize that devil's night was the night was the night before.

Don't sweat any real or alleged pagan roots of the holiday.  Some trappings of Easter and Christmas are pagan too, and people know not to get upset because bunnies and evergreens are innocuous.

Heck, "Harvest festivals" are more pagan than Halloween; firstly because paganism isn't identical with satanism, it is--as Mark Shea puts it--mankind trying to reach the divine via imagination, which is informed by such larger-than-man phenomena as the changing of seasons; secondly because there's a world of difference between offering thanks or appeasement to Ceres and making a celebration out of "where, O Death, is thy sting?" But either way, pagans have harvests and contemplate their eternal destiny as much as Christians, and that doesn't make them satanic, it just makes them human.

We have nothing to fear from or on the holiday itself because death has been conquered.  All the macabre imagery is there to remind us that death (and yes, evil) are not to be feared.  The devil hates laughter and not being taken seriously; what better way to thwart his two-pronged attack of being either feared as some God-rivalling eater of souls or a human abstraction we don't need God's help to fight, than by acknowledging such a thing is real and then not giving it power over you?

To be fair, I'm not advocating glutting yourself on gorn, or saying the opportunity to dress up a something naughty is justification to do something particularly immodest (there was a comedian whose show I caught part of one time who had a routine that went something like "'What are you supposed to be dressed up as?' 'A witch.'  'Yeah, if she was a hooker.'" If you remember who it was, let me know in the comments); and I'm not saying it's a good idea to use ouija boards this one night of the year.  Like I've said, the devil is real.

He's real, but he only has the power you and God allow him to have.  Dressing up like a zombie is not opening yourself up to the demonic; that is a superstitious attitude, or at least a scrupulous one.  If you can't stomach it in one sense or another, I'm not saying you have to, but feel free to dress up as a saint, or a robot, or a Rubik's Cube (or a skeleton--everybody's got one).  It's not some imitation-is-the-highest-form-of-flattery thing; that completely misses the point:  it's a parody.  "It looks to me like something bad"--either a costume or the practice--"therefore the worst possible interpretation must be true" is the same argument I face from iconoclasts about veneration of the saints, and it's wrong when they make it, too.

Also, ah loves meh some canday.

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