Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Harvest-Ending Holiday

Halloween. Or more acurately, Hallowe'en. An interesting holiday. I have some thoughts and observations.

One is the traditional "trick or treat" fun and games that happen in the evening. Pranks and mischief also tend to happen, sometimes with destructive consequences. And sometimes young adults get a little carried away. All I can think of is the antics in the movie Animal House, and I suspect I will encounter some of that tonight while I'm working.

"Samhain" is an old Celtic celebration marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of the "dark season" of the year: winter. Wiccans and neopagans, to varying degrees, have adopted this as their own. Some would say that because of the "Halloween" film series that the name and meaning of the day has taken a bit of a bad rap.

In the eighth century, the Catholic Church adopted this as the "Eve of All Hallows", or the vigil for All Saints' Day on November 1. November 2 is All Souls Day. Some would call this a religious trifecta.

One of the things I've noticed is that since I was a child Halloween is that it has become much more restrictive. No - that's not the right word. I think parents have become more protective of their children than they were when I was young. This isn't a bad thing; I know when my kids were young their mother and I were protective of them. And that, I think, is an understatement; we never let them out of our sight. At the same time, I think in some corners there has been more violence associated with the night. In others, less. I think it simply depends on your point of view.

On this Halloween in the small New Hampshire town where I live, I suspect it will be somewhat toned down mainly because of the weather. It is raw, damp, and rainy as I write this at approximately 4:30 in the afternoon. As I understand it, the temperatures are going to rise slightly then fall. I have no idea if this is really what will happen, but we'll see.

My grand-daughter is with her father tonight, and I believe he is taking her around the village area of our town to get candy from her neighbors, weather permitting. As I am working my overnight tour at the Firehouse, it is possible, even likely, that I will see her. I hope I do. It would be fun.

For those of you out there enjoying the holiday, do so safely.

Happy Halloween.

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