It’s that time of the year where we all come to fancy the dark. The day on this particular date is keenly waited to turn into night and the night is one hell of a beaming beauty that can divide the day. On this special date, our conceptions about spirits and evil get a little more pronounced. Those who fancy daytime can’t wait to remain tugged to bright sunlight and those who were already nocturnal creatures can’t wait for the night all the more.
But, on the wake of Halloween, being celebrated world-over on the fall October 31st night and the coming of November the 1st, it won’t be a bad idea to dig up the past and decode the reasons for celebrating the much loved Halloween night!
What really is Halloween and why is it celebrated? Where was it first sermonized before it became this singular, popular and an unbridled reason for partying?
We take a look a U turn toward the past and go underneath the grave from where Halloween’s ghosts and ghouls emanate!
Halloween beyond the grave
Implicit in the idea of celebrating Halloween and keeping up with this age old custom speaks of a vivid cultural amalgamation between people from the British Isles, France and off course, those from America.
If we just take cognizance of the world around, we instantly realize that close to everybody is aware of the idea of religion, save the seasoned non-believers and rational atheists. Among the many beautiful and vibrant religious beliefs, we then realize that there exists a religion known as Paganism. A term attributed to the Christian community spread across Southern Europe, it constituted a set of distinct rituals and customs as held central to its practice. Every religion conforms to certain nuances about the ways of worship and distinct customs and beliefs and Paganism confines itself to a dark, hitherto less understood but hugely interesting world, not necessarily confined to all hunky dory warm sunshine.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be too incorrect to state that the stuff we understand in common parlance as one bordering on being Voodoo has its bearings with the concept of Halloween. Paganism comprising of practices such as Witchcraft and Shaman worship, commonly known in the Americas and Europe as Shamanism was deeply followed by a set of people known as the Celts who primarily gave birth to the practice, and celebration of this ancient cult.
Who were the Celtic Druids and were their beliefs
Druids, as explained in Greek and Roman literature were members from a bunch of intellectual lot comprising of writers, poets, debaters and a coterie of intelligent and able beings who believed in traditions that were often branded rebellious as seen from the eyes of the Church during the Iron age. The Celtic Druids hailing from the period before 400 B.C were based in the region of Gaul, Britain and Ireland and came unfailingly together each year to celebrate their belief in the theory of “Reincarnation” . Rumored to be often indulging in animal worship and human sacrifice, they did so to dedicate a certain day that addressed the importance of the departed, or so it is believed.
How Halloween came about
It was hence a Celtic belief that ghosts and witches in particular, created mischief on the night of October the 31st and in the coming of November the 1st. In fact, so affirmative was their belief in departed spirits reappearing and revisiting the living on this date, that it was commonly felt that if certain deities weren’t worshiped by a communion of worshipers on the night of October 31 each year, then all hell would break lose. And thus came about this tradition that consumed a never verve of synergy wherever the Celtic Druids went. From being based initially in the British Isles and Ireland, and further meandering toward France and then to British colonies of America, Halloween confided in millions a cause for epic celebration. One is ought to ask and reasonably so, if there is such fancy celebrations about the good, then celebrating the evils and recollecting departed spirits for a single day, rather night, no matter how goofy and nervy it sounds, isn’t after all a bad idea, is it?
That we must celebrate that which is alive and in mortal form amidst us isn’t just a common practice but the most common form of being in civilized society.
The cult of Halloween
Well, are the Celts still around or the Celtic Druids, who knows? Do they still gather somewhere murkily in a nondescript corner to remember the dead and celebrate the legend of the evil, it can’t be said! But, Halloween is the sensational cult today that finds splendid participation from several millions from around the world. And it no longer matters whether you are a Christian or not. Halloween reserves an unreserved and unbiased participation from mankind, no matter what your caste, religion or creed.
You could be the most charming looking hipster, the sexiest bimbette in the Universe or a pathetic haggard from the least happening place on planet Earth, but come Halloween night and the lesser understood but spectacularly popular ghoulish night extravaganza occupies centre stage of attention wherever people gather. Gather they do and in some of the most uniquely dark and rancid dressing themes that often scare but mostly entertain.
The custom of wearing costumes and attires bordering on horror, gory themes churns out each year an event so global in its appeal and so addictive in its inspiring of awe and popular culture that what initially started as a somewhat prophetic but weird( if it can be called) practice has brought the world together under one single dark night. Regardless of their age, their religion and their costumes, no matter how bizarre and funny they often turn out to be, and they do mostly, people celebrate uniformly a custom and practice that is so much fun and so it has been for years together.
The varied forms of Halloween and it’s scary and not so scary attires
Each year, on every night, people come together and paint the town red, black, blue, white, pink and even violet and ghoulishly dull maroon colours in their celebration of this cheerful fest. Bordering on popular symbols as seen from the prism of popular culture, movies, history and mythology, boys and girls, kids and parents, the nastiest dumb-wits and the most pretentious non conformists party in hip style and celebrate in great verve the spirit of Halloween, quite ‘literally’.
From body piercings, to body painting, to sporting uniquely crafted and conceived attires to the most hunky dory tribal uniforms that construct a crazy bordering on fiendish style, Halloween certainly ensures that amidst tons of liquor, smoke, haze, discussions, diatribes, noise and music – individuals come together to mix up and engage in a harmonious affair.
From costumes that mimic the Joker and as a crazed Witch to the ancient tradition of turning up as lissome lasses on the dark night, to becoming a dull ghost who scares less and is mocked more and even some turning up as the Dark Knight, Batman, Superman, Super ghoul, Simpsons and many more are commonly followed avatars that are hold tremendous interest among people from all age-groups.
Subverted societies who base their so called intellectual debates on pillars of reason that basically do nothing more than differentiating in mainstream media and popular culture – ill formed and hollow opinions about gays and lesbians sadly can’t think straight Halloween event. But, at the same time, one is glad that people from evolved and able societies such as those in the West and now, gradually in the East, especially here in India, Pakistan and other nations are now warming up to the brute of horror and gory of Halloween.
Let us dance, shake a little leg, forget the idiosyncrasies and scare the living daylights on Halloween night. Remember, amidst the usual mundane of everyday living, this is one cold- blooded thriller night.