Sunday, October 31, 2010

Joyce is Confused!

What's it all about??

'Happy Halloween' say the cute kids from the street all dressed up, faces painted, masks on, and little bags ready to collect any treats from the suckers that live in the houses they visit.

'Ummm' says me, 'Do you know what Halloween is about? Do you know what you are 'celebrating?'. Silence, utter, dead, nothing, silence and partially 'duh' kinda painted little faces looking up at me with my glass of wine in my hand, sitting, relaxing out the front with some neighbours for a Sunday evening drink as we watch the sun set on another weekend.

'Oh come on.' I say laughing to the older kids. 'Surely you had time to google the meaning of the word before you went to all the trouble to dress up?' Ummmm, with the blank faces standing before me, I gathered the answer was a big fat no.

So I took it upon myself to explain what I thought Halloween was all about. You see, I didn't grow up with Halloween. I don't remember trick or treating, dressing up or any of that at all. It's only been popular with the kids here in our neighbourhood the last 5/6 years I guess. My boys don't walk the street at all, our neighbours kids also don't walk the street, however there are other kids that do, so our kids dress up and play out the front and hand out the lollies to the kids that do visit. I am not sure I want my kids receiving lollies from total strangers anyways!

I explained that we live in Australia, and in Australia we are entering the season of Summer, not Autumn. We are part of the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere it's the end of the harvest season, where all the crop is stored away, ready for a long and cold winter.

I then asked them why do they have their faces painted. Again, no idea, I then went onto explain that some cultures believe that tonight there is an 'opening' between the living and the dead at which point the dead can 'pass through' to the living and haunt. The reason for the painted faces and ghoulish costume/dress up is to frighten the bad spirits away and not be recognised.

Tomorrow is All Saints Day, where a lot of religions celebrate their Saints (mainly those that don't have their own celebrated 'day') with a mass/liturgy/service depending on the religion and what they call their form of worship/prayer/meditation/blessings. The 2nd November is known as All Souls Day, where prayers are offered for those that we love and have lost.

I did end up having a huge basket of lollies for the kids all dressed up in their garb with their little painted faces so shyly walking the streets with older siblings also dressed for the evening. I am not totally 'ghoulish', I just want the kids to perhaps ask questions and know why they are walking the streets dressed in crap cheap production line, made in China, costumes and wigs, making huge amounts of $$$$ for the huge international companies with their over production of pretty much anything and everything they can think of to milk the cash earned from mowing lawns, washing cars, paper runs, and all those other wonderful jobs kids do these days.

I have a few grumpy gripes that I will share with you and they are as follows-

We are Aussies here !

I don't want to be American-ised more than we already are.

I don't want my kids or my friends kids, or any kids, growing up with this 'thing' about Halloween and having absolutely NO IDEA what they are 'celebrating', walking the streets saying 'Happy Halloween'.

I dislike, as in STRONGLY DISLIKE, and refuse to 'buy' the whole commercialised crap thing that goes along with Halloween, Valentines Day, Christmas, Easter, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, and whatever else I may have left off the 'commercial' celebration list that seems to be totally choking our kids and families of today.

I don't mind celebrating Halloween with treats for the kids and dressing up, hey, I love a dress up as much as any kid, but I think it's also important my kids KNOW why they are doing what they do.

*phew* so help me here, am I totally screwed up in the head or what? Yep! Still totally confused, probably more so than the kids that visited our place this evening, looking for candy.

I am so over celebrating stuff just cause the commercial calendar says so!

I think the day that my hubbie gives me roses on Valentines Day or buys me jewellery or whatever on Mothers Day will be the day that he gets a head-butt!!

I want presents because he wants to give me a present. I don't want anything from anyone, 'because they have to'.

Lastly, I hope that I have not offended anyone that reads this post. I do not mean to offend, I am just trying to understand and learn why things are done as they are. I am trying to teach my children about the world they are growing up in, and share with you, what I understand of Halloween, which as you can see, really isn't very knowledgable at all. *sigh*

Can you tell me, where do you live, and do you celebrate Halloween or All Hallow's at your place? What are the celebrations you share with family and friends, do you dress up, do you pray, do you ward off or welcome the spirits that 'pass through' tonight? Do you believe in it, or do you not believe in it?

If you would like to share you thoughts, I would love to know. I would love to learn more about this long celebrated event and what it means to you.

Thanks so much for stopping by here tonight in Joycie's little blog-land of confusion.

Blessings to you and may only the good spirits pass by your place tonight.


MonetPaisley said...

Go Joyce! We do not celebrate Halloween because of its meaning. We do not celebrate Christmas or Easter because of their origins and what they have been changed into so as to be acceptable to the majority of christianity. I do believe in God and believe what is written in the bible. That's my 2 cents and I hope people comment, it's interesting to see the great variety of beliefs and I respect everyones beliefs as I hope they respect mine.

I expecially respect someone that asks questions and doesn't blindly follow the crowd. Go Joyce!

ken'n'Al said...

You go girl! And make room on that Soap Box for one more!
Although I will just tweak one little thing...All Hallow's Eve is not JUST American. It is European in origin, and yes, the sequence is All Hallow's Eve when the veil is thin and the dead can visit the living. Not all evil, some nice; then All Saints (to chase away the spirits, basically); then All Souls with prayers for those departed. And yes, the Church linked it into the Autumn/Harvest/Winter festivals. In various forms, All Hallow's Eve is celebrated all over the Northern Hemisphere.
It's just that the Money Makers in the USA managed to get hold of it and change it to "Happy Halloween" and that has (unfortunately) become the norm.
We're pretty lucky on our street, I've only once had kids visit, and that was a couple of years ago.
Personally, I love celebrating Family and Friends. No specific date, can be more than once a year, no presents, just good food, a few drinks (but not drunkeness!) and great company. Sometimes even a daggy card game with Pirate accents thrown in!

Ky said...

TOTALLY AGREE!!! It is the commercial world trying to brainwash us (& our kids) so they can make an easy dollar!!! We don't celebrate Halloween...actually Tal didn't even know it was tonight...last year some kids came to our door when Dan was home alone. He had no idea and took a handful of lollies out of their bag and gave them 50c!!!!!Maybe thats why we don't get anyone anymore!!! Lets stick to our own Aussie traditions like Anzac Day & Australia Day...neither of which involve kids walking the streets at night asking strangers for lollies!!!

2paw said...

I agree, it is a British and American holiday and not an Australian one. I get so cross with all the big shops trying to commercialise it and make lots of money. We had 'Halloween' pumpkins in one supermarket that were $25 each on Saturday and 99c per kilo on Sunday. Hmm.

Sarah said...

Absolutely!! I don't really do it either. I did buy lollies for the visiting kids this year, not usually though. We played tricks on the kids and some of them just stood their looking blank. What's with kids these days?? Very strange how they just expect a treat and nothing else. Well not at our house!

Penelope said...

I'm on your side Joyce, I didn't grow up with halloween having being brought up in South Africa and now living in the UK with our 10 year old daughter we do not buy into the whole commercial absolute rubbish that's sld here to make some fat cat rich. I don't do witches, ghouls and ghosts, and have convinced our daughter that it's uncool and boring to run around saying 'happy halloween' when most of te kids would be clueless to what they are buying into! P xox

'Joyce' said...

Oh my goodness how wonderful. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your thoughts and such honest comments. Oh *gush*. I love this honesty, I love how we can speak our mind. Thank you again. I am so glad I am not alone in this dilemma, I am so glad that we don't feel the pressure of the big commercial rubbish to 'buy in' to all this silliness. I do respect those that believe in Halloween, I understand the significance of the event and the importance of it, however, the whole commercial side of it really makes my skin crawl. Actually the whole commercial money making side of any event or celebration makes my skin crawl.
Al - I love your Family and Friends. Here, here to celebrations just like this. Oh and sorry, yes, I know All Hallows isn't just American. I should have corrected my writing there. It's a Northern Hemisphere celebration. I think in Ireland this is celebrated as the Celtic New Year? Oh gosh, not sure if that is correct or not.
Ky - how wonderful taking the candy and giving the kids 0.50cents. lol I like it. As for Anzac Day and Australia Day - I am with you. Less commercialism and more education on what is really important.
lol Sarah - one year for Halloween me and my boys would wait down the side of the house for the kids to turn up, then we snuck down the side of the house around the garage and sneak up behind them all standing at the front door. 'Rah' we'd yell at them and oh my goodness, you should have seen them jump out of their skin. We almost wet ourselves with laughter. That was so much fun. Oh and that year, we had no lollies to give out either.
Thanks again so much for your comments and thoughts. It's always a bit hairy posting things on a blog, however, it's good to know healthy discussion can take place and I so love to learn more about 'stuff'.

Crochet with Raymond said...

Good post Joyce! Although, I do wonder who if so many people feel this way, why is this still happening each year??? There are christmas things in the shops already..... as of yesterday, is that a bit freaky? I hate to say it, but as a society of consumers, we let it happen! Start a revolution Joyce! No xmas purchases until Dec 10th!

Crochet with Raymond said...

p.s I'm imagining you on the front lawn drinking wine giving these kids a history lesson... I hope you weren't slurring as you did this!!!
he he he he he he eh ehe he eh

'Joyce' said...

Hullo Alice. Oh yes, I wonder same, but we did get a few kids dressed to the max in their Halloween gear. lol, I was very sober while delivering my little lesson too. I really feel that kids accept things way too easily these days, they don't question what they don't understand. They don't seem to want to learn more about why they do what they do. It's very sad. As for Christmas grrrrr, that makes me mad, mad, extra-mega mad. I have two little boys that have not yet celebrated their birthdays (November and December), and we are being 'flooded' with Christmas trees and the like. I am so totally disgusted and we do nothing about Christmas until it IS Christmas. However, I must say we don't crazily fill trolleys and max out the bank account like others either. We had Christmas items being put in the store before the last lot of school holidays (the last week of September). I refuse to purchase any of it, and I so wish others would do the same. You are totally correct, people are out there and getting sucked in to it all, because they wouldn't put it out otherwise. We have to stand up Alice, and be a strong voice, hopefully, we can turn the tables on this horrid commercialised world and make people see how silly it all is. It rather does scare me as a Mum, what are my children growing up with, and where will it be when they are adults.
Have a lovely day my friend, and thank you for you lovely thoughts.

Kel said...

We celebrated 'Halloween' this year, though we call it Samhain. At the end of April, which is the appropriate time in the southern hemisphere.

On October 31st/November 1st we celebrated Beltane, which I think they call May Day in America.

It's not specifically an American or a northern hemisphere celebration; these festival are based on ancient Pagan beliefs that mark the turning points in the cycle of the year :) They have been used and adapted by many other belief systems, including the Catholic church.

NessaKnits said...

I made one costume and I bought the other .. but I really should have googled joyceliveshere first! LOL.