Does the Bible condone our culture picking up morally questionable or less-than-valuable practices? As we continue examining Halloween celebrations in Worcester, it is helpful to look at how our culture celebrates Halloween.
Firstly, Trick-or-treating: Ever wonder why we go begging for candy and threatening with a trick? Of course it is just a joke – with interesting origins. The poor person at your door would pray for your dead relatives and get some food in return. A rather sophisticated way to beg! This apparent Christian origin is unbiblical, but who can refuse beggars-in-need? We didn’t then and we don’t today!
Secondly, Dressing up: Who doesn’t pretend like their alter-ego? If a ghoul is what most people want to be, our society is troubled indeed! But kidding aside, our current costumes vary from the devilish to the ticklish. If one wants to roam around as someone else, what’s the mischief? As princes roamed the streets as commoners, it provides a different perspective. Yet what you choose to dress up as, tells more about you that you’d think.
Thirdly, Ghost themes: Although there are a number of roots for this practice, including harvest festivals and religious themes, ghosts seem to predominate our modern themes. Our fascination with the macabre finds expression here. Many homes have graves and ghouls in their yard. The gothic rebelled against the norm, but is such expression refreshing or just demonstrating twistedness in our psyche?
Finally, Pumpkins: They have an interesting story behind them. Did you know that turnips were used before pumpkins? Also the idea of carved pumpkins depicted souls in purgatory. Combined with all saints day, this symbolism continues just connected with something scary. Despite the unbiblical purgatory, the pumpkin’s religious theme has become a harvest theme. I say – just eat the pumpkin!
In essence, none of these cultural accretions are in and of themselves as sinister as dabbling with the occult. Yet, very few find a solid base for genuinely upholding the ancient traditions or taking a meaningful stance. People use this cultural accretion to just goof off.
The Christian can critique older falsehoods, newer mindlessness, or even delve deeper into our city’s motivations. The Christian guards his own actions from inane accretions. Yet who rebukes the silly? Next time, we talk about how we look at current cultural celebrations taken at their face value.