Since I’m not going to be posting on Saturday, I just wanted to wish everyone Happy Halloween. Remember that tomorrow is technically Xmas because Oct 31 == Dec 25 so you should probably watch out for Robot Santa as you are partying. Cause you know – the little bastard can claim technicality and carry out some of his holiday assassinations early in the season.
So yeah. Have fun. Also, in this thread we post funny Halloween stories. Since I don’t have any funny ones mine is just a story of sorts:
I have never been Trick or Treating in my life. The whole idea of Halloween has always been a foreign to me seeing how it is an old Galeic festival. I grew up in Poland which is a Slavic country. You see, ancient Gaels and Brits had their Samhain which was a sort of a multipurpose festival that commemorated the end of summer. It also happened to be the day when the veil that separates this world and the next grew thin, and allowed spirits both malicious and benevolent to pass through – so the feast was also held to honor the dead and appease the otherworldly beings while they roamed the earth. Wearing of masks was a form of deception – dressing up as an evil spirit was supposed to confuse the malicious entities and have them assume you were one of their own. This tradition sort of memetically mutated into what we now know as Halloween.
Ancient Poles on the other hand had a slightly different idea of dealing with the same entities. They have celebrated Dziady (or Forefathers Eve) which was a ritual libation and/or feast held in the honor of the lost souls wandering the earth. It was held several times a year, and wasn’t really an all out party as Samhain. No, it was supposed to be scary, mysterious and cathartic. The pagans would actually seek to summon the pissed off, violent wraiths who for some reason could not cross over to the other world and tried to appease them with offerings, listen to their stories and try not to shit their pants. It was serious business.
Of course when Catholic Church moved in, it did not approve of this whole spirit summoning business. Stamping out such traditions was difficult because the freshly baptized pagans didn’t really take the whole monotheism idea all that seriously. So Polish Catholics did the only thing they could do: they canonized Dziady and turned them into All Soul’s Day which falls on November 2nd. It was basically the same thing but you replaced pagan invocations with prayers. Also in a brilliant move they slowly de-emphasized the mystery behind the holiday and made it rather uninteresting.
Fast forward to the twentieth century and All Souls Day evolved into a rather somber and quite bland holiday during which Poles go to church and then visit graves of their close relatives, tidy up a bit, light a candle in their memory, offer a token prayer and then go home.
Dziady are mostly remembered because Adam Mickiewicz one of Polands greatest poets of the Romanticism period used it in his encyclopedia sized epic poem that is so densely packed with historical, religious and literary allusions, symbolism, and complex metaphors that you actually need cliff notes to decipher it’s cliff notes version.
Halloween was never part of my cultural heritage. It was never really celebrated in Poland when I was a kid. I of course knew about it, because like just about every other child on this planet I grew up watching Disney movies, Loony Tunes and Hollywood super productions. I just never got to participate in it – it just wasn’t something you did back then. And this kids, is why I never got cheap candy from strangers or egged anyone’s house in my life.
But yeah – we will have some candy for the neighborhood ghosts and goblins tomorrow and will be giving it out. Thankfully my street doesn’t have that many kids (usually it’s only 3-4 families/groups each year) so we will probably close up shop early.