Saturday, 27 October 2018

The coming holy season

I'm old enough to remember a time when Hallowe'en didn't exist. That is to say, it was a date in the calendar, and that was all. Nothing to party about or celebrate. That was before it became a mega-marketing opportunity-a drive by the market to shift all sorts of single-use tat, before the buyers bin it on November 1st, and the shops fill up with more stuff (tat?) , this time for Christmas.
The most ironic thing I've seen about Hallowe'en is the supermarket signs exhorting punters to have a 'Happy Hallowe'en'. Come on! It's about ghosts and demons, restless spirits and spooky stuff. Happy?
I don't think so. OK, it's all been nicely domesticated so that kids go out in the dark and expect a handful of sweets when they knock on the door, but somehow this doesn't square with its pagan origins, and its appropriation into the Christian season of remembering the saints and martyrs (All Saints Day) and all holy souls (All Souls Day).
For the faithful, this is a time of remembrance, thankful for all those witnesses to Christ who have illuminated the way of the cross for us; and prayerful,as the memory of holy souls impacts on us. Hallowe'en in the Christian tradition is a time of vigil and fasting.
The only point of contact between the market version and the faith version is that we are more aware of the life beyond, the supernatural realm. Whether hell or heaven draws near depends on whether your belief is in what is pushed via the supermarkets, or in the Jesus who proclaimed himself the light of the world.

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