Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why I (Still) Like Halloween

It's All Hallows' Eve, and the most unlikely stores are decked out in orange and black, offering a peculiar assortment of the ghastly and the sweet. Never a big fan of creepiness, I still really like Halloween.  I have three basic reasons:

#1. This is a personal, non-transferrable sort of reason. Halloween is my birthday. My Mom never had
Birthday Girl, age 4,
with little sister, Mary. 
to wonder about a party theme, and trick-or-treating was part of the party fun. As a Catholic school student, I always had my birthday party on my real birthday because we didn't have school on All Saints' Day, it being a Holy Day of Obligation and all. (Consider yourself hereby reminded to go to Mass tomorrow.)

#2.  On a more general scale, you can thank Halloween for those yummy "snack sized" candy bars that nobody would have invented if not for the need to give out the good kind of treats, lest one be labeled forever as a neighbor who offers lame, off-brand candies (or, even worse, healthy treats!).

Light is meant to be shared! And the
 pumpkin on the right is still waiting!
#3. Finally, Halloween is a reminder of one of those moments when the Church's missionary wisdom recognized the "seeds of the Gospel" in a pre-Christian observance. Since the Celtic New Year involved a recognition of the continued existence of the departed (and in some cases, of an unpaid debt to one or another who had died during the year), it provided an "in" for teaching about...the Communion of Saints and our continuing relationship with the deceased.

The Church of Rome used to celebrate All Saints Day in May; as the Celts entered (and influenced!) the universal Church, the feast of All Saints was moved to coincide with the Celtic calendar. That adaptability of the Church--the deep vision of faith that recognizes where God has prepared the way in culture for the greater, transcendent revelation of the Gospel--is something we still need today as a new culture is arising because of the changes in technology. (Every time a new culture arises because of a development in technology, a new evangelization is called for!) Come to think of it, that same big-picture vision can help us respond appropriately to the inappropriate expressions of Halloween, too.

Looks like I'm not alone!
Three Reasons Christians Must Celebrate Halloween
I'm So Done With Apologizing for Halloween

 "Abusus non tollit usum," as the ancients used to say. What do you think about Halloween and the sane ways it can be observed?


Anonymous said...

In Canada we have only two Holy Days of Obligation - Christmas and Mary, Mother of God, but there are special Masses for All Saints/All Souls throughout the city. It's good to come together at these times to pray for the dead, just as we should pray for them all year long. And Happy Birthday, too! - Jen

Maggie Goff said...

Happy birthday, Sister!

Melanie Bettinelli said...

Happy birthday, Sister Anne. Today is my husband's birthday too!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Happy Birthday!!!