Thursday, October 30, 2008

4 - Partaking in Halloween without knowing the meaning behind it

In Hong Kong, there are roughly 900,000 kids, at or under the age of fourteen, who celebrate holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day.

These kids receive a multitude of gifts in late-December, as well as go scavenger-hunting for chocolate eggs in March or April. And on Mother's Day, these kids get together with their fathers to give a meaningful card and/or present (perhaps a chocolate egg?) to their Mommies, in true honor of their undying commitment and unconditional love.

Tonight, apart from the slutty women and drunken alcoholics at Hong Kong's local drinking and clubbing area known as Lan Kwai Fong (
, HongKonger children will also be enjoying their own style of impish fun, knocking on doors and ringing doorbells, in the hopes of receiving gummy bears, chocolate bars, lollipops and other confectioneries, simply for wearing a costume that heightens their already-innate ability to look cute, innocent and ignorant.

Yes, ignorance is what I will be discussing this Halloween, or should I say Hallow E'en, as the Irish used to call it
. Hardly anybody in my local community actually knows what Hallow E'en is about, and while I agree that the origins of a holiday is trivial knowledge, I firmly believe that it is important for one to at least partially understand the significance behind a holiday before spending time, effort and money engaging in its festivities.

So let me teach you a bit about
Hallow E'en. While some occasions such as Mother's Day are pretty self-explanatory, Hallow E'en, like Christmas, Hanukkah and many others, actually has more to it than the modern-day customs that we now know of.

Hallow E'en is short for All Hallow's Evening (Oct. 31), and is the eve of All Hallow's Day/Hallowmas/All Saints' Day
(Nov. 1), which basically celebrates all the saints.

I bet you didn't know that the act of trick-or-treating is, in fact, a distorted imitation of what was known as souling.

Back in the Middle Ages, souling is what you would do if you were unable to obtain food for yourself, either because you were a child or you were poor (...or both). You go to people's homes, knock on their doors, and then sing a bunch of crap 'celebrating' dead people and the homeowners then reward you with a soul cake (pictured right, mmm...), each one symbolizing a single soul being sent off to Purgatory. This is where All Soul's Day (Nov. 2) comes from.

I apologize if I may sound a bit upset soon.

Thanks to American cultural media (really... I'm sorry), souling became trick-or-treating, and the dirty, filthy, ragged clothes on the backs of children and beggars back in the Middle Ages turned into the whole wear-a-Halloween-costume thing.

I can actually live with all the kid vampires and kid witches and kid werewolves trick-or-treating, because at least these children are maintaining the essence of the whole creepy, scary, death-related vibe. I mean, bring on the mummies, and the ghosts and Frankenstein's monster (which reminds me — I get irritated by the smartasses that feel the need to repeatedly point out that the monster is actually nameless and it's the creator that's really called 'Frankenstein'.)

Anyway, back to the costumes.

Why the Hell is Pikachu walking around outdoors on such an evil night? Why is Sailermoon celebrating
dead souls
? Why are these princesses, angels, clowns and cowboys associated with this holiday? Oh, look, it's Mickey Mouse. And there's George Bush! And there's CHUCK NORRIS! I just don't understand. Least of all, the groups of parents that have proudly dressed their children such that they appear to be a regurgitation of the Justice League.

Unlike my previous posts, I have no solution. I'll stop there. I'll simply continue to live through this disliking of mine: that is, stupid costumes and ignorance regarding meaningful holidays.

But you should know: There are many hypothesized reasons as to why Hallow E'en exists at all. I just went with the most obvious answer here, and if you really do want to find out more, the Wiki. page was quite enlightening, as were several sites that came up on a Google search.

What do you think, readers? Should we know more about our holidays? Did you already know about souling? Do you hate it more when the monster is mistaken to have the name 'Frankenstein', or do you hate it more when people point it out? Is this post too long? I mean, my fingers are exhausted...

And finally, what are you dressing up as for Halloween?
I, myself, am a vampire this year. Happy Halloween! >:[


Anonymous said...

interesting if you research and track the basis of halloween, and review the archetypes of different mythologies, which lead to it, last day of october, as being the time of the noaic flood.. well, most main mythologies around the world seemed to root there.. and the most reasonable explanation would be the change of language back in Babylon at the time of Nimrod, the great grandson, or great great grandson of noah?, which confused people, scattered them across the globe and caused these things to spread..

i also don't think halloween dignifies the dead. y'know, halloween parties, etc.. well, at least that's what i think.. heh! heh!

Comic Superzero said...

I liked this blog. I pretty much love anything that makes people by the masses look and feel like idiots.

I do, however, believe that while many people are ignorant about the origins of Halloween, Easter, and even Christmas, sometimes ignorance is bliss.

While it's probably not right for America's pop culture to be cashing in on said and unsaid holidays, I guess it could be argued that at least these holidays give us something to do. I mean lets face it, if everyone knew the true meaning behind Thanksgiving, no one would really want to celebrate it. But we also don't really have any other valid excuses to gorge on turkey.

Holidays, while mostly misunderstood by many people, give us (or at least some of us) the chance to get close to our families and, if not that, at least get us a day off of work.

Although, it'd be nice if we had more holidays worth celebrating.

Anonymous said...

hello :]
yes i am new at all this!
thanks for the welcome.
I appreciate it greatly!
you seem like a really neat kid.

Anonymous said...

I never understood Hallowe'en either. If you read the post Guy Fawkes on Tomus, you'll see why. It's just not a part of my culture.


J.J. in L.A. said...

In grade school, a girl was waiting to get picked up. I asked if she was sick. She replied, "No, it's just some Jewish holiday. I'm watching my soaps later." I'm not a religious person but I celebrate Christmas...knowing what it means. I don't celebrate Halloween. Warning: obvious blog plug..."read my latest blog to find out why".