Trick or Trick
Andrea Urock | 10.31.2015 | Halloween, Freektopia |
We all know that the origin of Halloween is not remotely similar to the modern holiday full of extravagant costumes, children chanting for candy while adults chant for liquor; we know that this whole commercial mess and economic boom has more to it, we know that it was a Pagan celebration and that it went from being a dark and prohibited ritual to a parade of happiness and of course, simple consumerism. However, how do we come to this conclusion? Well, today we’ll review its history and spread throughout the world, so I highly recommend you read this before you invest your time and money in the best make up, familiarize yourself a bit more deeply with where all this disarray jam-packed of witches in tiny skirts and countless zombies comes from. I invite you to learn why we continue to celebrate this old tradition or better yet, how can we still celebrate it from an interesting, alternative and needless to say, economic point of view.
To begin, Halloween is an Anglo-Saxon celebration, basically its roots take us to Ireland and the United Kingdom before it spread throughout the United States and Canada, if it wasn’t for its Irish immigrants North America would have never followed this tradition. The name Halloween comes from the synthesization of the sentence “All Hallows’ Eve” which means: All saints’ eve, but… wait a minute, all saints? Yes, Halloween ends up being a mix between a Christian and a Pagan celebration; but that’s not the end of its origin, because before it was Halloween it was called “Samhain” the Celtic celebration that literally means: End of the summer, which explains the importance of the date, October 31st was virtually the last day of harvest for these nature worshipers, the end of the warm season and life, and the beginning of the cold, dark season, death. It was also believed that during October 31st and November 1st a door between the world of the living and that one of the dead was opened, and this belief is the motive that led us to wear costumes; this tradition roots itself on the belief that when this magical door opened both good and evil spirits crossed the threshold, and it was believed that if people dressed as ghosts or vampires they could deceive the spirits, go unnoticed and prevent their souls’ theft, that’s also where “trick or treat” was born.
Now we know a little bit more about what we are celebrating, now we can ask ourselves when and why we have this wild excitement for the products of this popular date. The commercialization of Halloween begins during the early 20th century in the Unite States when a company named Denisons released a book that gave suggestions on decorations and costumes, that “manual” would change the original course of the tradition, and would of course be taken by the North American society to be one more holiday on some of the major investors’ lists. Since then, businesses in control of these products earn more money in one month than what you can make in one year.
Although Halloween has transformed throughout the years, its traditional form of celebration hasn’t completely died. In fact, there is more than one neo-pagan cult carrying out rituals and events that bring together thousands of people this time of the year, one of the most recognized groups are the “Wicca” or Witches. And with these same roots Latin America follows with “El Día De Los Muertos” (Day of The Dead) in Mexico that bit by bit has been contributing to this Pagan history. .
Halloween in my opinion, like language, customs and ideas shouldn’t stop evolving in our culture, namely, we can make out of this celebration something a lot more interesting so that it goes from a traditional and repetitive festivity in honor of the saints to a commemoration where the people seek other ways to open up to the world celebrating who they truly are. To start, what if instead of paying large amounts of money to enter prestigious clubs for competitions that have a predetermined winner, we organize events where provisional spaces are created that break the rigid social structure that constantly drowns the true creative spirit, yes, spaces that end that consumerist cycle and open ways to expression and art, with promises that the only barring is aimed towards the sponsors, in other words, break the utopian concepts and create our own reality .
We can make out of this celebration something a lot more interesting so that it goes from a traditional and repetitive festivity in honor of the saints to a commemoration where the people seek other ways to open up to the world celebrating who they truly are.
This, obviously, is just the first step. Now, the second and probably most important step is to analyze something so simple, yet so essential that is the choice of costume we make. There are people who choose their costumes thinking about their level of comfort, others choose it based on their favorite character and others seek that their choice of costume plays a little with their personality. But, few people take the risk to dress up as their worst fear, or better yet, of that hidden personality that‘s only reflected in the bathroom mirror. So, in my opinion if you’re thinking on dressing up as zombie again, you should rethink the idea, in fact rethink the whole concept of Halloween in general and break the conventional procedure to link your true self with a the true self-organization during the festivity, why don’t we take one more step forward and we dress up as who we truly are, or should we say… why don’t we take off that mask that we wear throughout the rest of the year and free the animal that lives inside of all of us.