Friday, October 31, 2014

QUARITUR: Should I allow my child to celebrate Halloween?

 The Halloween Pumpkin: An

Should I allow my child to celebrate Halloween?

Yes, though maybe by next year I might change my mind.
When I was a child Halloween in England might have had a few cut out witches and  string spiderwebs, and that was it oh, plus a ghost story or two and for some reason 'apple bobbing'.
I am sure Halloween was connected to the bonfires and effigy burning of November 5th.

Halloween is a strange festival, an anti festival really, All Hallows we celebrate the absolute certainty of the Saints enjoying the blessed of Heaven and on All Souls we remember and pray for the dead, who suffer, having to wait for Heaven, being purified by the burning love of God, and by their yearning for that which they might have lost.

Halloween is about being lost, cut off from God. Once in a year we play at what it must be like; the terror of the darkness and being lost in it. It seems very healthy to play at devils and spooks, axe murderers and the living dead and then to wash of the make-up, put away the costume and celebrate All Saints. It seems very healthy to wander in darkness like some lost thing for a few hours, then to return to warmth of the Father's house.
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01097/lewes460_1097262c.jpg
If I were a parent, my possible children would thank God I am not, it strikes me that Halloween is a good time to teach children about Hell, about the real possibility of  losing Heaven, about the disorder of sin and its consequences.
 
Benedict, Dominic John-Vianney Blake along with their sisters Immaculata-Maria and Maria-Mediatrix-Gratia would celebrate the most gruesome and horrific of Halloweens, of course after singing 1st Vespers of All Saints with their loving Papa. With their friends they would be cast out into the darkness, the door closed behind them and sent to beg from the unresponsive neighbours some of whom might be persuaded to cry from their Christian homes, 'Begone foul Hell-fiend, return to the place from whence thou came', some might even throw buckets of (play) Holy Water at them. How eager would be their return home after a night of play, how instructive the conversations of the world where Grace is unknown, how acute the attendance at Compline, how their little faces would be turned to the crucifix at the words of Compline, "Fratres: Sóbrii estóte, et vigiláte: quia adversárius vester diábolus, tamquam leo rúgiens círcuit, quaerens quem dévoret: cui resístite fortes in fide." How intense and heartfelt their Te Lucis ante terminum. How lovingly they would clasp their cuddly toy miraculous medals in their warm Christian beds and how reverently would they recite their pre-somnial Paters and Aves. I suspect they might even say, "Papa rather than our normal reading of Aquinas as our bed time story would it possible to hear Blessed Augustine Civitatis Dei".

14 comments:

Marian Lindsay said...

Father here in ireland halloween has always been celebrated. In the past not the way it is now whoch owes more to hollywood. We dressed up as children and went to bonfires, also the main part of halloween was bobbing for apples and various other games. Halloween originally was a an old irish festival celebrating the harvest and the meeting of the worls of the spirits and our world on that night. However we, as children and the adults were very conscious of the holy souls and it being all saints next day. All souls and all saints are All Saints and All Souls replaced pagan festivals. We enjoyed halloween and the stories attached to it. We could make the distinction between it being a fomer pagan festival and that now we commemorate all saints and all souls as christians.

Marian Lindsay said...

Halloween is an ancient festival when it was believed tha the curtain between this world and the next was drawn aside on this night I think it was something to do with the change of season to winter. People dressed up so that the spirits would not revognise them and cause the harm. With the coming of christianity the belief and emphasis was transferred to celebrating the saints and remembering the souls in purgatory. When i was young halloween was fun for children. We dressed up and went about in the dark hoping people woul not recognise us, if the foud it difficult to do so we were thrilled. It was not a out the undead and horrors. That is an import from america. The main emphasis was on all saints and all souls. Lots of fun was had with bobbing for apples etc i imagne this is a harvest festival. Marian lindsay dublin

gemoftheocean said...

Actually, it's all about reassuring your mother that you will not, in fact, ruin a pillow case and convincing your mom to let you use yours for your candy loot, planning your costume for a good few weeks as to what you were going to go as (not nearly so gory back in my day...not many horror movies back then to emulate)...and, if you were in Eastern Pennsylvania, also "borrowing" some corn from a nearby farm field to use for tick tacking. [You might toss a bit of hard corn against a window as a "trick" -- adults put up with it because they did it when they were kids. You heeded the injunction not to eat unwrapped candy, except, of course, the apple cider and homemade caramel popcorn balls made by the elderly couple down the street. [and you did their house as soon as it got dark enough to go out! before they ran out!] Oh, and "make sure to take your flashlight and have your butt home by 9:30" I pity the kids of today who have "helicopter parents." And yes, it was always fun to return to a nice warm home after trying to scare the beeejezus out of each other.

George said...

We don't celebrate Halloween. I don't have a major opposition to it, especially as you describe it, Father.

But I've become increasingly resolved against it, not only because of the obvious Satanic themes that have become part of this holiday in the last few decades, but also because of the many good Catholics that I've seen who have vehemently fought to keep this tradition in their families. I've seen several good priests preach against Halloween, and the reaction from some families (Trads, I'm talking about here) has been stunning to watch. They rebuke the priest and then double down on their celebration of the holiday. It has caused me to wonder why the strange attachment to this night? I could take it or leave it, and I've decided to leave it.

Bruvver Eccles said...

Since All Saints has been moved to Sunday, it's eve is properly Saturday Night (at least in the Novus Ordo). What a tangled web our bishops weave when they decide to celebrate All Saints on a different day from the Pope.

Dawn Young said...

I was taught by my mother and have since taught my children that tomorrow when the Church and Heaven celebrated the church triumphant, the demons are too scared to show their face and hide. Halloween was the day they would try to cause much evil before they fled in fear before the Marching Saints. You placed pumpins in your window to deter the wandering demons from entering your home.

pascal788 said...

Halloween in pagan Britain is totaly pagan and devoid of any Christianity. If you had children and were a parent you would not let any of your children participate. As a celibate priest you should listen to what we parents say and take their advice. Today is not like it was when you were a child.

Fr. Scott Archer said...

Brilliant blog post, Father! Well said! I encourage my parishioners to celebrate this All Hallows Eve with goolish delight. I know I'll see them at Mass in the morning to celebrate our heavenly patrons, known and unknown.

JARay said...

Here in Australia, as I type this, it is Saturday morning and I will be going out later to Mass for the Feast of All Saints. Tomorrow, Sunday, is the Feast of All Souls. We had the usual knocks on the door by children "Trick or Treating" and dressed as witches. This is the only bit of religion many of them ever get during childhood.
However, this weekend is very different because it is exactly 100 years since Australian young men left these shores from the port of Albany in the deep south of this State, to go to war in Gallipoli. This event is having significant effects here because many have turned up in Albany to remember this event and we have our Prime Minister there and a fleet of ships including a Japanese destroyer. Remembrance services are to be held and the little town now has a new museum.

JARay said...

I must apologise to New Zealand for missing out the fact that their young men were also on that convoy in the first joint exercise of going to war. They were not then called "The ANZACS" but it was only a few weeks before that word was coined and the cove in Gallipoli where they landed and fought has, ever since, been known as "Anzac Cove".

John Nolan said...

The practice in E&W of moving HDOs that fall on a Friday or Monday to the Sunday does mean that we are spared All Souls on a Sunday (with the inevitable argument as to whether or not to include the Credo) and it is moved to 3 November in both the EF and OF calendars.

John Fisher said...

Jaray (I suggest you research more widely. Australians and New Zealanders considered themselves British (English Irish Scottish Welsh) living or born in Australia or New Zealand. So they were and are British. The Gallipoli campaign involved French and British troops. The UK troops who fought were killed by machine gun as the ran off their beach landing ship along a gangway. Lets not forget the Western Front is where most fought). My point this sort of self sacrifice is admirable and tragic but not unique. Nationalism and legend should not be fabricated when the truth is more poignant and uniting.)
At work a colleague said she did not like Halloween and the children trick or treating. I asked her if she had any relatives buried in our city? She said "yes" so I suggested visiting their graves, tidying them up taking flowers and candles and saying some prayers. She laughed! My point Catholics need to claim Halloween back by reintroducing supplanting secular customs with Christian ones.

JARay said...

I apologise for taking the subject of this discussion off track by introducing the business here of the Gallipoli campaign. I was merely reporting what was uppermost here in Australia at this time,this year. You are quite correct John F., about the troops embarking here regarding themselves as British, at that time. However, I can assure you that that is now long gone! I speak as someone who has dual citizenship, I even have two current passports. Here, in Australia, one of the really big ceremonies is Anzac Day on 25th April and thousands of Aussies and Kiwis go over to Anzac Cove for the ceremonies there each year. They certainly do NOT go as Britons! I am fully aware that there were British and French soldiers there but the number of troops who left here from Albany 100 years ago was 42,000 and both Australia and New Zealand were tiny colonies then!
I like the idea of claiming Halloween back by reintroducing Catholic customs. I well remember the Portuguese going to their cemeteries on All Souls day and taking flowers and kneeling down at gravesides saying prayers. I actually lived in Lisbon for three years.

John Fisher said...

Yes I have two passports. The UK is "the land of my ancestors and we have been there since the Ice Age. "We belong to the land" We invented the wheel! Thanks to "comrade" Gough Whitlam links with the UK were removed. Crowns and ER removed from official stationary. The Queens picture removed from public buildings. The triumph of that latent Republicanism the socialist Labor Party clung onto while bringing in abortion and easy divorce. I am alienated by this. As in the UK Anglo Saxons Celts are being displaced by those who envied Troy or wanted the safety of Rome or just want money. Like the Goths of old they are destroying and displacing. Secularism with its political correctness' is their friend. Boats their Trojan horse. As a Chinese friend said to me. When I go to Europe I go to meet Europeans not Chinese and I think it is the same for Europeans going to China. Will it result in a synthesis or conflict? Both... Yes as in the UK from 1534-onwards Catholic culture is being battered and will only survive if we struggle and refuse to give in.
Many Souls will be going to Hell and many to Purgatory. we can assist them through our prayers.