Everyday Rituals: Halloween

Not an everyday ritual, but an annual one:

I recently came across a shrewd article from Forbes contributor and marketer Michael R. Solomon that explores the meaning of Halloween as an anti-festival...an event that provides antagonistic contrast to symbols we associate with other holidays. It very nicely shows how (as I often say) 'rituals create meaning.' The insight for me: the meaning of Halloween comes in part from its contrast to Thanksgiving. From this you would predict that the meaning of the Halloween ritual in countries like Australia and the UK that don't celebrate Thanksgiving is (obviously) different from its meaning in countries that do. 


I have been watching the evolution of Halloween in both Australia and the UK (where I grew up). I have noticed that Halloween is becoming more popular in both countries, but it is also contentious. Some people become angry at what they call the  'commercialisation' of Halloween, which is a bit odd really since neither country experienced much on a non-commercial version. What I think people are saying is that Halloween doesn't 'feel right' to them as a ritual because there is no tradition. There are some possible reasons for this:

But of course, Halloween shares many features with Christmas and Easter - this is fun time for children, when children can be the focus of attention.  Also sweet food. What is wrong with that?  

'Rituals are, after all, the linchpin of a moored life. They are the necessary reassurance in the face of life’s vagaries. They are the predictable, soothing stakes in our daily lives that inject meaning. That they are emblematic of all cultures and seem to last through all types of modernizations is very telling.'  Lauren Rieff. https://medium.com/publishous/the-fascinating-ritual-of-christmas 

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Tags: Rituals, Everyday Rituals