What is Hidden Under the Costumes on the Evening of Halloween
During the Halloween festivities in Japan, many young adults wore costumes of all kinds and paraded down the streets of Shibuya. I found myself incredibly frustrated with these people because the majority of them had no knowledge of the true meaning of Halloween.
Halloween, also known as All Hallow’s Eve, is a celebration observed in countries all over the world and is widely believed to have originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Pope Gregory III assigned November 1st to be the day to honour all saint and martyrs, and this day became known as All Saints Day. There was a superstition that on the “eve” before the feast, evil spirits were released from the spiritual world and that they invaded the physical world to hinder the celebration. Therefore, the evening before was established as All Hallow’s Eve, when people wore disguises to trick the evil spirits into believing that they were not humans. This way, they believed that no evil spirits would be able to interrupt their holy time.
The Celts, wore costumes as a precautionary step in order to pay respects to their loved ones in peace. However, in today’s society, Halloween is seen more as an event for young adults to dress up and show off by working in public parades. At first glance, this may not seem like such a bad idea, since it could be said that this is the modern adaptation of Halloween. However, the disturbing fact behind it is that the majority of the people who participate in the event are unaware of what Halloween actually is.
During the Halloween celebrations when the parades were on, the media interviewed those who were in costumes to ask why they were participating in the parades. As predicted, none of them knew the meaning of Halloween. One answered that she joined the parade to “feel the togetherness” of the younger generation. Another mentioned how he felt “obliged to follow the crowd” and saw the event as an opportunity to stand out. I believe that becoming united is something to rejoice in, especially now that the bonds in our society have frayed. I also believe that if people can get out of their comfort zones by participating in something new and exciting, it represents a positive societal development. However, I find it disturbing that these very people who hope to have a positive influence on our society also destroy the traditions and meaning behind such events.
I believe that we have the duty of passing down what has been passed down from generation to generation. We should not destroy meaningful things that have been built in the past; things that must have an inherent value, having been passed down through the centuries. We have a right to celebrate events like Halloween, but also a duty to respect the cultural origins of these events. Let us take the time to learn about these origins so that we can cherish the deeper meanings behind the celebrations that we take for granted.