Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Learning Hallowed Differences

So halloween has come and gone and my son, my girlfriend and I had a complete and utter blast. We did all the things that I would have done at home for halloween, and it was strange to be with someone who had never celebrated it before.

Imagine meeting someone who had never celebrated Christmas or a birthday, well it was the same for me, to see that there are many people who know nothing of the night of the dead, all souls day, bonfires and witches.

I am not talking about the commercial American crap that is being foisted onto European culture at the moment but the Irish type of halloween, where kids and adults dressed up to help the halloween party, and not a pumpkin was in sight, bonfires burned all night and games were played in each others kitchens as we bobbed for apples with out using our hands.

When I listened to the French reaction to what Halloween is or was for them I was at first surprised and then pleased. They generally criticised the appearance of an American festival in their culture of which they knew little about and cared less.

Many french are anti the commericalisation of culture and I have to say I agree with them.Their reaction was nothing what so ever to do with anti americanism but a rejection of something passing for culture and being celebrated that ten years ago they hadn't even heard of.

Personally I was quite happy to be able to celebrate something of my own in a culture that is so different to mine and to explain that what I was doing had nothing to do with pumpkins. The first time I even saw a pumpkin up close in my life, was this weekend.

Cultural diversity is a good thing. It brings opportunities to talk to each other and to open up and make friends. It allows people to share different views on life and death and the celebration thereof. Imagine living in world where there was no diversity. Imagine how boring life would be. Where would you choose to go on holidays if everywhere was exactly the same as home? Why would you bother traveling and meeting other cultures if everything, the language, the food, the fashion and the culture were the same. God put me to sleep now if that is my future.

Diversity is a great and exciting thing and is nothing to be feared but something to be celebrated.
Let's get over putting people down because they are different and let's stop imposing on others who are different.
If they don't have the same religion, the same politics, the same fashion, or speak the same language and even celebrate different festivals at different times of the year,then let's welcome that.
Take stock of all the negative you know to exist in your way of doing things and then give the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise and assume that those who do different don't have the same negatives as you and therefore can't be too bad then. Can they?
Happy Dead day all. :)


BlueMoon said...

Glad you and your girlfriend had a grat time...I have to agree, Halloween in America is too commercial but *sigh* all our holidays are now. The creed of all america seems to be "greed is good". In certain amounts it is, but I just get so tired of it.

I agree very strongly with you about welcoming difference!

Gotta run! *hug*

Elena said...

Interesting how so many pagan festivals have changed over the centuries, mainly commercially! The ancient festival of Samhain, the 'day of the dead' to the Celts, becoming Hallowe'en, or All Hallow's Eve to the Christians. The bonfire and the dressing up were originally to ward off those evil spirits who might decide to linger in the world of the living for too long and scare everyone with their mischief!
Interesting articles, Col :)

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