Halloween

Martin.Sheffield

Message 9169 · 3 Oct 1997 02:12:09 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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>Tim Harrison continues...
>
>>... M Sheffield wrote:
>>>I vote with the anti-halloween crowd.
>>
>>Ughhh! Another vote from someone who believes that SCD is a limiting
>>activity that must be done according to some prescription!

Well you're wrong there, Tim, but are forgiven, of course.

>Halloween=Fun was coming primarily from the US side of the Atlantic. Could
>it be that it is not necessarily so perceived in Europe?
>
>Cheers, Oberdan Otto.

That's getting a bit nearer the feelings underlying my 'anti-' vote.

Little by little, traditional/usual/typical/familiar (choose your word)
European ways of doing things are disappearing, and in place of whatever we
used to do on festive, sad or even banal occasions is being forgotten.

We used to serve beer and red wine at comfortable temperatures; now we
chill them to hide their flavours (or even replace them with some fizzy
brown sugary liquid).

We used to think of Jesus and Mary at Christmas; now only Santa Claus
appears before us -- from October onwards.

We used to enjoy 3/4, 6/8, 9/8 musical signatures; now we are fed only
2-beat rock -- and the younger generation knows _nothing_ else.

There was time when apprentices had a day off to spend a happy hour or two
with their mothers to whom a small probably home-made present would be
brought;
now we are required to buy expensive manufactured trivia once a year for
mothers' day, (fathers' day, grandmothers' day, bosses' day, .... each in
turn). Which doesn't mean we needed also buy on birthdays, anniversaries,
and so on.

Where does all this come from?

On 1st november, perhaps not everywhere, but in southern Europe, we used to
visit ancestors' tombs, tidy them up, trim the plants, add a flower or two;
now we are expected to remember witches and pretend to believe in magic. Is
that unglorious aspect of social and ecclesiastical history really a
subject for revelry?

All right, I'm the first to look for an excuse to have a party, and I do
believe it is up to each of us to choose the themes and styles of his
merry-making. Freedom of choice, of course.
But are we (Europeans) choosing? or are we merely following a foreign
custom -- _as_ dictated_by_purely_commercial_profit-seeking_interests_?
Why should havng fun be equated with buyng things?

OK, I'm in France, and Halloween is competely foreign. Yet witches, black
cats -- I hardly need to give you the list -- now appear all over town to
entice us into buying more things we don't need.
I have no particular memories of halloween as a child in Britain either.
5th November, yes, but not halloween as a celebration.

At least the halloween period is short. Christmas, on the other hand. Do
you really enjoy two months of being told to buy, buy, buy? By the time
25th December arrives, thank goodness it's nearly over.

I hope this late-night message is clear enough to give you all some idea of
why, for me, dressing up for halloween would add nothing to the pleasure of
my favorite activity. I refuse to be told to enjoy myself.

There is also, undoubtedly, at the back of my mind, the somewhat
embarassing memory of halloween in North Carolina, many years ago, when I
had no idea what to expect (begging children !) and was at a loss to know
how to react when total strangers knocked on my mobile home door. It was
all the more awkward, as I had quite literally just run out of money
(brutally-raised student fees, unexpectedly high cost of living, and
bankers' incompetence -- but that's another story), and even the porch
light was kept off to economize.

Too tired to go on. It will undoubtedly not be night when you read this,
but I still wish you all a pleasant nightmare-free rest.

Yours,
Martin in france.

PS: If you are really looking for something to celebrate, this is the first
anniversary of my being on-line. You been reading my uncouth incoherent
uncalled-for remarks for a whole year.

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