All Hallows Eve. Reasons to Throw a Halloween Bash!
Release the Ghosts!
The Americans alone spend $9 billion on Halloween. Those familiar with my posts would understand why my face “fell off” when I read this fact in a news article. My otherwise fierce courage deserted me in my hour of need: I dared not look for a global statistic. I care about my face! 😄
Well, I understand the societal consumerism and the urge to party for whatever reason. I get it even more in the fateful (first) year of the pandemic. I accept both reasons even when they apply to nations that until a decade ago had absolutely nothing to do with this mainly American holiday, but adopted it for it offers yet another reason to throw a monster (pun!) party.
Romanians, for instance, fill this description, but we have a good excuse: we love a rave, hey! Suppose the government would one day deem right to declare, I don’t know, May 14th the National Odd Slipper and Pinocchio’s Nose Day. I’m pretty sure the nation will be quick to drag their feet in odd slippers and sporting some twig protruding from between their ears to some organised party, even with quarantine rules imposed by said government.
My dilemma is, out of so many billion people on the planet, how many have a clue what the hell they are celebrating to justify the colossal amount of money spent for one evening?
The six people who already know can stop reading now and go on with their routine. For the rest of us, I did some research and put a few facts together. I’ll be quick; this is the shortest post I’ll ever write, I promise.
Here goes Halloween:
- It is otherwise known as the evening before All Saints Day. In essence, a Druid (old and mystical religion of Celtic tribes in ancient Ireland) end of summer celebration married to a Dark Age Pope’s decision to move The All Saints Day from May 13th to November 1st. Peace over millennia of dissension between pagan and Christian, in essence. Worth a drink or two and some cash spent on a latex costume. I could not find any information on prehistoric similarities, but it would be so cool if anyone had the knowledge and would like to share it! After all, the Celts who migrated to what is today the UK initially lived in Central Europe. Also, large amounts of Celtic DNA was found in people still living in northern Romania, but no archaeological discoveries to even start a new theory.
- It marked the Celt’s New Year’s Eve. It was the night when ghosts returned among the living. The Druid Lord of Darkness, Samhain, allegedly chased the spirits around the towns to get them back to where they belonged. This possibly has provided, two thousand years later, the most popular Halloween costume ideas: ghosts, skeletons, witches and vampires.
- Speaking of vampires, who, as we all know, reside in Transylvania, a spooky region of Romania, ever enveloped in mysterious fog, where people wear garlic necklaces and always watch over their shoulder for a dark silhouette of a certain Mr Dracula. (I’m joking, it’s mostly sunny over there and the people are actually quite trendy, although they love garlic, in foods!) Yes, the Romanians have serious reason to celebrate Halloween! Only that they should do so on November 29th, on St. Andrews Day (the saint patron of wolves). For this is the spooky time when the gates of heaven open for the ghosts to come down on Earth and create havoc among the wolves and the vampires – the unfortunate ghouls caught in purgatory and messing badly with the living. The day officially marks the beginning of winter, when the evil spirits will look to steal the power of future crops. The people have tried everything in their power to thwart the malefic forces’ action. Apparently, garlic provided the best results, keep this in mind if you happen to run into Dracula one day. Luckily, he’s too fancy and easily offended by the pungent stench of an otherwise healthy veggie, a veritable natural antibiotic. Hmm, I wonder now, would an injection with penicillin work as a deterrent for vampire bites? And what do you do if you try that and it turns out your vampire has a penicillin allergy? I would probably act on instinct and call 999, forgetting the damned initial reason!
- What’s with the pumpkins an’ all? Well, it seems to be a modern adaptation to an ancient tradition. The Irish used to carve turnips and make them into candles to keep the forces of darkness at bay. When they emigrated to America, they realised that a pumpkin makes more sense for this purpose and adjusted the tradition. A previous legend has something to do with a drunkard called Stingy Jack who made a pact with the devil, and after death got stuck between the worlds, that’s why he carries a candled carved pumpkin to lighten his ways.
- In some cultures, including the Romanian one, women believed that on All Hallows Eve, their future husband would show in their dreams. To a nonbeliever it might sound a bit fishy; perhaps is the “trick” part of the “trick-or-treat”. Jus’ sayin’; I believe in everything, including dreams! And why shouldn’t I when my most recurrent one is that I’m cruising? Not bad for a nightmare, eh? 😋
- All the rest is a modern adaptation to a probably way older tradition for which there is no available information. I debated this problem and gave my honest opinion on how much we know and how much we don’t know here.
At the end of my research, I’m still shocked at the amount of money spent on Halloween. If this does not put famine into perspective, I don’t know what else does…
Still, the conclusion is a positive one: after millennia of war, conquest, domination and global migration, we humans are all united and finally agree on something: any reason is good enough to throw a bash and spend insane amounts of cash on a pagan-converted-Christian-converted-commercial holiday!
Have a spooky Halloween, y’all! Boo! And don’t call me ’till Monday; my hangovers bloody love to hang on!
This post does not intend to offend, educate or anything else beyond cracking a smile from the reader. For more profound insights and referencing purposes, these were my sources:
https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween. Accessed 30/10/2020
http://www.holidayinsights.com/halloween/facts.htm. Accessed 30/10/2020
https://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/media/articles/truth-about-halloween/. Accessed 30/10/2020
https://www.historia.ro/sectiune/general/articol/de-unde-vine-sarbatoarea-de-halloween. Accessed 30/10/2020.