Oct. 28, Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles. St. Simon is patron of curriers, sawmen, sawyers, and tanners. St. Jude is the patron of desperate situations, forgotten causes, hospital workers, hospitals, impossible causes, and the diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida ( holla!).
It's the opposite of a secret: Halloween is my favorite holiday.
Holiday--from the combination of the words "holy" and "day," meaning a holy day. If you're Catholic, you know what that is.
(No! It's not just an extra day to go to Mass in the middle of the week.)
But seriously, I've always been aware of the American Protestant tendency to shun Halloween as "of the devil" and shoplifted from Paganism. In middle school, I eagerly read and enjoyed the book Save Halloween!, which gave me much insight into the super-conservative Protestant way of thinking. I also had one or two friends who thought it on par with Satanism.
At the same time, I don't think I've ever seriously given much credence to these claims. Even before my family enriched their lives by deepening their knowledge and practice of the Faith, Halloween was a precious time for me: a time for gathering in the warmth of home with family; for harvest and good things to eat; for running in the cold until fire burned deep in your belly, warming you from the inside out; for leaping into a kaleidoscope of crisp fallen leaves and the lacework of bare branches; for remembering, through cats and calaveras, that we are more than what we appear; for lighting candles against the growing dark and looking forward to Christmas. In short, all the good things of childhood; and also a symbol, though one my young mind was yet to fully comprehend, of the temporariness of this world, and the looking forward to the World to come.
Cute, glow-in-the-dark, Halloween themed skeleton pajamas? We are not amused.
Well, more and more I've come across, not only Protestant, but Catholic opposition to the celebration of Hallowe'en--that is, All Hallows' Eve--and its liturgical pocket called Hallowmas.
The capable faithful, I am glad to say, have spoken out in disagreement against this Puritain-adopted tendency to repel anything that has remote connections or similarities with non-Christian sources. Such opposition is a paradox: as we know that the Creator, in a sense, permeates His creation--and that one cannot look around the world and not see the Father reflected in it.
Similarly, the attempts of some of these Catholics and Protestants to reclaim Hallowe'en as a holy day of the Christian Church do so, perhaps unwittingly, at the expense of the reclamation itself--denouncing all ties to pre-Christian symbolism, either real or fabricated.
But more on that later. This is but the introduction. As part of my project on incorporating the medieval liturgical year into our everyday living, I intend to designate this entire week of blogging to Hallowtide and Hallowmas: Halloween, All Saints', and All Souls--the autumn triduum, if you will--with tips on how to decorate, favorites, and why I think being scared is sometimes good (hint: it's tied into fairy tales). And of course lots of photographs!
Making a break with black-and-white motiff and doing a complete 180--lots of orange!
At least, that's my noble intention. I'm a terrible one for commitments, so we'll see how it all unfolds. In the meantime, check out what these worthy Papists have to say:
- Naysayers Gonna Naysay by Kendra at Catholic All Year
- Reclaiming the Reclamation by Martha of Ireland at Internet Monk
- Top Ten Ways to Have a Catholic Halloween by Taylor Marshal
If anyone has any other relevant links, I'd love to know about them!