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They've taken a perfectly good holy day

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  • elledragonfly
    Full Text COPYRIGHT Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service 1995 They ve taken a perfectly good holy day and trashed it. Erased its roots. Watered it
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 21, 2001
      Full Text COPYRIGHT Knight-Ridder/Tribune News
      Service 1995<br><br>They've taken a perfectly good holy
      day and trashed it. Erased its roots.<br>Watered it
      down. Wrapped it in commercialism and marketing, and
      vanquished all<br>its significance.<br><br>Why, it's not
      even a day any more. They've stretched it into a month
      of<br>merriment _ just another way to make a buck.<br><br>Has
      everyone forgotten the true meaning of Halloween? How did
      it come to be so<br>secular?<br><br>The pumpkins and
      the candy and the orange and black sweaters _ what do
      these<br>have to do with the equinox? Heck, many churches have
      even taken the name<br>``Halloween'' out of their late
      October activities. They call them ``fall<br>festivals''
      or ``autumn outings'' or some other generic
      hoo-hah.<br><br>What's a Druid to do?<br><br>OK, put down your pen. And
      don't call the newspaper on Monday. I'm
      just<br>kidding. Sort of. One does have to wonder if Wiccans
      suffer the same angst<br>about the secularization of
      Halloween as Christians do about the<br>commercialization
      of Christmas.<br><br>Think I jest?<br><br>``Long
      ago, in many parts of the world, the witch holiday of
      Mabon was usurped<br>into harvest home celebrations,''
      writes renowned witch Laurie Cabot in<br>``Celebrate the
      Earth.''<br><br>``The spiritual aspects were _ and are still today _
      either suppressed,<br>forgotten or lost. This is
      unfortunate for us and our planet. Rituals, in<br>general,
      help to reconnect us with a heightened
      spirituality.''<br><br>Of course, the many churches that are trying to
      stamp out Halloween do so on<br>reasonable
      premises.<br><br>Most Halloween customs can be traced to the Celts of
      Ireland, who believed<br>that on Oct. 31, the spirits of
      those who had died in the past year wandered<br>about,
      looking for bodies to inhabit. To frighten the spirits
      off, the Celts<br>dressed as hobgoblins, witches or
      demons and raised a lot of ruckus.<br><br>A popular
      brochure circulated in churches this time of year asks
      ``What's<br>Wrong With Halloween?'' and answers, in part,
      ``Everything about it is wrong!<br>It is a demon-inspired,
      devil-glorifying, occult festival. Those who love the<br>Lord Jesus
      Christ should have nothing to do with it.''<br><br>Even
      the seemingly innocent custom of dressing in costumes
      gives some<br>religious people pause. Harper's
      Dictionary of Mystical and Paranormal<br>Experience says
      when people put on masks, they ``allow themselves to
      become<br>possessed by the spirit in the mask or represented by the
      mask.''<br><br>Remind me not to dress like Barney.<br><br>Well, throw
      out Beelzebub with the bathwater if you
      must.<br><br>But it behooves us to remember the life cycles that
      our otherwise addled<br>ancestors celebrated when
      they threw their pagan parties.<br><br>In American
      celebrations, Halloween is a mockery of death. We find
      the<br>prospect so appalling that we make fun of it to mask our
      fear: Witness the<br>gruesome corpses, red-eyed zombies
      and laughing skeletons we can rent at any<br>costume
      shop.<br><br>By ridiculing death, we avoid any serious thought on
      the matter, unlike the<br>somber Celts. Halloween _
      or whatever ancient cultures called it _ was a
      time<br>to reflect on the death and decay promised by
      shorter days and colder<br>temperatures. It was time to
      reflect on mortality.<br><br>Not a bad idea, whatever the
      faith you profess.<br><br>(Jennifer Graham covers
      religion for The (Columbia, S.C.) State. Write her
      at<br>The State, P.O. Box 1333, Columbia, S.C. 29202.)
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