Thursday, December 09, 2010

Happy Hallowe'en!

No. I am not confused. Not more than usual, anyway.

This is a post I was going to write around Hallowe'en, but I got distracted, and anyway, it's really just a spin-off of my annual posts about saying "Merry Christmas," so it's not totally unseasonable. Every year since at least 2007, I say something about the whole "meaning of Christmas" issue, whether it be an emphasis on Easter instead, or how sometimes applying the word Christmas to everything might border on taking God's name in vain. My basic stance is that I do not want to be censored for saying "Merry Christmas," but at the same time, I don't think everyone should have to say it, and I wonder if they even should, if Christ is not who they're celebrating.

But it's the issue of censorship I'd like to address here today. I am going to be really politically incorrect for a moment. Bear with me.

I live in New England. I don't know if it's the "witch-hunt" history (which seems to have had the ironic ultimate effect of drawing a lot of pagans to this part of the world) or the fancifulness of dressing up or a genuine fascination with dead things, but I have a lot of friends for whom Hallowe'en is their favourite holiday. And let it be their favourite holiday. It's their choice. I'm going to say, though, that I personally think it's the most hideous holiday going. Maybe it's just because I'm not a fan of the orange-and-black combination, but I think it's more that I just don't get any enjoyment out of seeing skeletons and hooded grey beings and gravestones and clawed hands coming out of the ground. It just doesn't really do it for me. I also don't really support the trend of Hallowe'en being a time for women to look as skanky as possible. I apologise for the language, but really, is there another way to put it? I'm not sure if this trend is more exploitative of women or men, but either way, I don't like it.

However, I do understand the overall appeal of dressing up and pretending and I also understand that some people genuinely like this holiday, and so if the occasion presents itself, I don't object to wishing someone a "Happy Hallowe'en." The general public doesn't either. There may be Christians or other religious groups who choose simply not to acknowledge it, but nobody goes around telling people they should say, "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" at Hallowe'en, even though it is not a purely secular holiday either. I went to my e-card-making application the other day to find a Christmas card template, and there were only two options with the word "Christmas" in them, and they were super-cheesy. Everything else was genericised. But you can find Hallowe'en cards, and they actually have the word "Hallowe'en" on them. People just say, "Happy Hallowe'en," to each other and nobody bats an eye.

So, could everyone please stop batting their eyes if I choose to say, "Merry Christmas"? Or, if I'm in the UK, where merry means tipsy, "Happy Christmas"?

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Hi Jenn! I recently saw a news report that more retailers this year are using the word Christmas than they have in past years because of statistics that the largest percentage of shoppers are celebrating Christmas. So the pendulum seems to be swinging. Maybe your e-card site will catch up soon! Merry Christmas!

btw, maybe I will see you this year?