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The question that I want to raise is the paradox of the American society – which on the one hand is the community of exemplary believers and on the other hand we enjoy the Halloween feast that is officially blamed by the Church. Halloween originated among the ancient Celts who…
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Celebrating Halloween and being an exemplary believer as one of the paradoxes of our nation 2009 The question that I want to raise is the paradox of the American society – which on the one hand is the community of exemplary believers and on the other hand we enjoy the Halloween feast that is officially blamed by the Church. Halloween originated among the ancient Celts who had their special feast in honor of Samhain (which was not the name for the Celtic “Death God” as some people erroneously state), that means it was brought to America from Europe, but as it was later almost fully prohibited in England, France etc., Americans became the ones who truly breathed new life into it. The Church, normally respected by the Americans, considers that when imitating evil spirits, people take over demonic disposition and destroy their appearance that was given to them by God. Such behavior contradicts Christian foundations; however the Americans never cease being true believers.
Also there are usually acts of “petty vandalism” which the Church also does not approve of – children break glasses, burn trees, etc. Though in the 1920s the scouts called to introduce the practice of “trick or treat” instead, sometimes people still like to commit something they would not usually do in their normal life. Respectable businessmen are likely to turn over garbage bins, stewardesses (mainly on domestic flights) dress up like a witches or fairies, teachers have no less fun than their students. It is really an unusual tradition – to wear a mask and play a role quite opposite to what one is in the society. Both children and grown-ups enjoy themselves and have fun meeting November in the costumes of witches and vampires, throwing eggs, taking part in the “best costume” competitions, and eating pumpkin dishes. It reveals the Americans being in need of throwing away from time to time their “normal” social roles and taking up something quite uncommon.
It would be incorrect to state that the Americans are the only nation incorporating both pagan and Christian traditions into their culture. However, in order to answer this question it is important to have a look at how the feast of Halloween reflects the peculiarities of American mind and culture on the whole, and at what it reveals about the Americans.
There is no other feast that would be as dear to each American’s heart as Halloween is. To my mind, it is based upon the national tendency to enjoy trick effects and shows. It should also be mentioned that celebrating Halloween is a part of American death-denying culture pointed out by Mitford, as it teaches – as practically all pagan religions and feasts do – that people should not be afraid of death, and that humorous attitude to it is possible.
The Church condemns Halloween and considers it a satanic feast, but millions of people who have fun at Halloween night think that they do not worship evil spirits, but overpower them. If this contradictory question is really answered, it will be possible to show to the world how the American people learned to overcome fear with the help of laughter. Read More
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