Saturday, 1 November 2014

Celebrations - what and why?

My name is Kirsty and I celebrate Hallowe'en.
I 'celebrate' it as much as a celebrate Divali (that is, not at all but I still took M to take part in the Divali parade with her class using the lanterns she'd made at school.
There is nothing 'dark' about carving Jack O'Lanterns. The tradition stems from the same beliefs as gargoyles on cathedral roofs - scaring away the evil before All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. If anything I object to more as a traditionalist Brit than as a Christian; Pumpkins being really an American  addition to Hallowe'en. However, I felt no compunction about taking M to carve pumpkins in Half Term. It was a drizzly day but there were lots of people at the Pumpkin farm. We spent a damp but fun couple of hours taking part in the 'drama in the woods' and stroking an eagle  owl. I love owls! R opted out - he is getting a bit too grown up for such activities!
I am more ambivalent about Treat or Treating. As a Churchgoing Christian, I know many people who object to it and I understand why.
Our Church ran a Light Party on 31st October, which I supported and helped at, as an alternative to Hallowe'en. It was great. 40 children, glow sticks, fluorescent paint and (I thought) just the right amount of evangelising. However, it was obviously a bit too much for some of the children. I was relieved that mine weren't the ones walking away while the vicar was talking. R was a bit too old to take part so he was a helper but M thoroughly enjoyed the activities.
However, they also wanted to dress up and collect sweets. And why not? I personally don't see the harm, so long as they respect the local understanding that you only Trick or Treat at a house displaying Hallowe'en decorations. So we did that too and there were lots of people ready and waiting to give out goodies. I felt hypocritical but I made the decision to take the children to both events. I want them to make informed decisions about their faith as they grow up.
M was a 'cute little baby good witch' and R went as Grim Creeper (apparently a Skylanders character!) The weather was unseasonably mild, they got lots of sweets, no-one was scared and everyone went to bed happy.

I know some of you will disagree with my decision. But I'm okay with it. Okay?

1 comment:

Sian said...

Here, Halloween celebrations are very much tied into the Harvest and with "good" things rather than "bad". With that in mind, the traditional lanterns here are carved from big potatoes - a throwback to the days when the kids got days off school to help with the potato picking