All Hallow’s Eve
Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve is a celebration that happens simultaneously in many countries all over the world. Before it became a pumpkin spice — orange candy — witches — vampires — barely dressed nurse — no clothed fireman night, it was actually an amazing holiday. It was about the culmination of life and new beginnings.
If we go back to a time of paganism and pre-Catholic tradition, it was a time of celebrating the harvest. The date marked the beginning of the darker part of the year and the opening of doorways to the “other side,” allowing the spirits of those who’d left the world of the living to come back and visit for one night. In other countries, like México, Halloween marks the first of a three day celebration where families and friends get together to remember their departed. Cemeteries and avenues are covered in cempasúchitl flowers (try saying it three times fast), and candles are lit everywhere to guide back the spirits of the dead. Altars and shrines are built in most households to place ofrendas, an offering of the departed’s favorite drink, food and candy as stories about them are told to those who are still here. For all who celebrate this day it represents the closing of circles, the end to an old beginning.
The influence of the American holiday can be seen as the line between marketing and tradition is once again blurred. The Big Pumpkin Spice Corporations are trying to monetize on holy days around the world. I can’t help but wonder how the spirits feel about losing their night to this great capitalist world of the living, who, little by little forget the real reasons to celebrate.