It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. Blame it mostly on work: when you work most of the year 12-14 hours a day during Monday-Thursday, and 3-6 hours a day on weekends, it doesn’t leave much time for relaxing, much less posting.
I did overhear a conversation relating to religion and Halloween that I thought was interesting, so I decided to do a quick post. I think if I do quick posts, I’ll be on here a lot more often, so here goes…
Standing in line at a Walgreen’s (a scary enough place most days as it is), I overheard two women in line lamenting the fact that Halloween falls on a Sunday. I don’t try to listen in on conversations, but when someone’s right ahead of you in line, you can’t help but overhear. Here is the relevant part of the conversation, as best I remember. They’re not direct quotes (didn’t have my iPhone recorder on of course!) but the general content and gist is here.
— Can’t believe they’re letting kids do trick-or-treating on a Sunday.
— Yeah, it’s a shame…on a Sunday! That ain’t right — why don’t they do it on Saturday?
— Shouldn’t do it at all, dressing up as monsters and devils for Halloween…but on Sunday?!
Now I don’t know for sure that this is related for religion, but what other moral objection could one have to children trick or treating or pretending to be monsters and devils on Sundays? Tennessee is a religious state, but I live in a part of the state (Memphis area) that is a little less Bible-Beltish. So I was rather surprised to hear this. There’s a lot of God talk I hear here and there, but this stuck out as particularly close-minded.
I’ve heard of communities “moving” Halloween / trick-or-treating to another day for safety/law-and-order reasons (to avoid people TP-ing [toilet-papering] houses, people targeting kids, etc.), but this is the first time I’ve heard it implied that Sunday is a special day that should trump Halloween.
Halloween is a pretty silly but overall harmless holiday, and does go back to religious (or a-religious) roots. My understanding is that it’s similar to Carnival, the period before Lent (that includes Mardi Gras): having fun and letting loose before a pious Christian holiday comes along. All Hallowed’s Eve preceded All Saints’ Day, so it was a time to continue a non-Christian tradition of celebrating pagan religious beliefs in spirits and such. I don’t believe in spirits, so I see absolutely no intrinsic value in Halloween, but I also see no intrinsic value in opposing it since nearly no one associates the holiday with this history. For nearly everyone, it’s just an occasion to dress up and/or have fun.
But not on a Sunday, the Lord’s day! Maybe if they can find a Bible verse that says Sunday is a holy day, I might be more understanding of the idea that Sunday is a special day that certain activities (such as purchasing alcohol or apparently trick-or-treating) can’t take place. I think the Wiccan/pagan minority has it wrong that it’s a religious occasion (which only occasionally falls on Halloween itself), but it’s their right to think so. But this is not the celebration that will be happening across America tomorrow. Halloween is only vaguely related to religion, in the minds of a small minority of Christian or Pagan kooks. Until either Christians or Wiccans change this state of affairs, I don’t think there’s a huge problem with kids or others playing dress-up for a day.