Halloween and it’s origins…..

This is what I have been thinking about the last few days…. Halloween, and why we, as Aussie’s, seem to have such an aversion to it.

Standing on a strangers doorstep on Saturday night, cloaked in purple velour and looking ridiculous for the amount of black makeup and teased hair that I sported, amongst a group of other mums, looking equally ridiculous with their plastic wounds, fake blood and dripping fangs (Anne Rice eat your heart out!) I was asked,

“Aren’t your kids a bit young for all this Americanism?”

My answer to her question, after a brief moment of pause as I contemplated why one would ask such a question whilst in the process of filling the paper bags of our pint sized witches, zombies and batmans with highly sugared treats, was a very articulate “Nup!”

As I walked away though, I realised that I did have quite a convincing argument as to why I allow Halloween for my children and it had nothing to do with the word “Nup” regardless of how eloquent and appropriate I found it at the time.

The thing is, I am at a loss to see what is so American about Halloween that has caused such an uproar in recent years amongst the Aussies.

According to many sources (two of which being The Jeremiah Project and History.com) Halloween emanated from Celtic beliefs in what is now known as Ireland, and was only introduced to the Americans in the mid 1800’s when the potato famine forced so many Celts out of their country and into America.

Originally it was a celebration of the dead, a night where people dressed up in scary costumes in hope that they would “blend in” with the evil spirits that walked the earth, and so avoid being devoured. It seems, the “Americanism” of Halloween that we seem to be disapproving of is the move away from the traditional fear mongering and witch crafting that Halloween used to be about, towards a family and community orientated holiday.

So it stands to reason (at least in my mind, but my mind sometimes has much convoluted reasoning and therefore I do not proclaim my reasoning to be of any relevance to the rest of society, this is merely just what I think) it is not the holiday of Halloween that is American, but the symbolism behind it. So….Would be much rather be celebrating the Celtic version of Halloween, fearing that at any moment our lives will be forsaken in the presence of some evil spirit, or the American version of the holiday where everyone gets together to have a bit of fun?

Now I know there will be many who will say, “Ah, but my argument is that we should not celebrate it AT ALL, being that it is not Australian.” and my response to those is this….Would you take away Christmas, which originally was a Roman celebration? Would you take away Easter, which originated from Germany? Or our very profitable horse racing industry (even our horse racing legacy was an idea borrowed from another culture)? Or were you under the impression that these customs were all Aussie born?? If you are looking for Australianism in its finest, the only place you will find it is hundreds of years ago before white settlers made it to our shores.

My point is that we are a multicultural country (even a first grader knows this word these days), and as such we have already embraced the hotdogs and apple pies of America. We have already embraced millions of immigrants from an array of different cultures and we have already embraced so many other customs of other religions and societies. Why not one more? How can we open our arms to so many different beliefs and customs yet stand obstinately at the door of our local “Bills Cheapo Dollar Shop” and announce that American traditions are ruining our proud Aussie heritage?

And even if I am wrong about all of this, even if Halloween is just a holiday that Americans have invented just to commericalise our fancy dress industry a little more, is it really that bad that we have another reason to enjoy ourselves?

After all, our children, as they dress up in their makeshift costumes, invented from their costume box, do not see Halloween as being an American tradition; they see it as a chance to play with their friends, dress up and eat lollies, and where is the harm in that?


~ by Alissa Anderton on November 3, 2009.

8 Responses to “Halloween and it’s origins…..”

  1. I have an admission to make. I am one of those cranky people who rant about Americanisation if you’re unlucky enough to knock on our door! Although Gaston gives them lollies if he gets there first :p

    • Ah well, lucky we’re not knocking on your door then!! LOL…I used to be one of those as well… but since having kids, and seeing them laughing their heads of at seeing their friends all dressed up you start to change your opinions slightly…..

  2. I see it as a bit of fun, and fun we had!
    Add to the mix some community spirit and I see no harm in it at all!

  3. Once again you have explained yourself beautifully! After reading your thoughts Lis, I would tend to agree with you. WHY NOT!? It is just some fun and the kids think it is great, everyone is happy and smiling so once again WHY NOT?! 🙂

  4. Halloween and it’s origins….. Alissa Anderton is an interesting name for a blog, keep up the good work, thanks, from Axel Alvarez

  5. Hi there cant add your Feed to google reader. Any one else here having this challenge?

  6. Thanks for your insight for the great written piece. I am glad I have taken the time to read this.

  7. Nice blog how long have you been blogging for?

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