Friday, 26 October 2012

Halloween / Samhain

As a child, my first memories of Halloween was of making pumpkin lanterns, apple bobbing etc, my mum a Christian (Catholic) explained Halloween means “All Hallows Eve”. "All Hallows" Day is the old English term for "All Saints" Day ( November 1 ) and November 2 is "All Souls Day" These are days Christians have traditionally prayed for departed relatives. In some parts of Latin America they call November 2nd "The Day of the Dead !"

Halloween returned to my consciousness with the film E.T. which was probably my first introduction to the UF0/Alien meme.The significant events in ET (a birth/death/resurrection story) occurred around Halloween (giving a suitable excuse for E.T. to go out unnoticed.)

E.T. also introduce me and many of my generation to; The American fantasy role playing game Dungeons and Dragons (which a friend of my mums from work warned might lead to an interest in the occult), the newly imported American BMX bikes and the American custom of “Trick or Treat”.

Halloween returned to my conscious a few years later by which time I was a punk and skateboarder,The American hardcore punk band the Misfits were lovers of American Horror films and B Movies,one of their anthem was the song "Halloween"The Misfits became increasingly interested in the occult and when they split some of the members continued in a band called "Samhain" which is the Gaelic word for the Celtic festival that predated the Roman Catholic “All Hallows Eve” and which occurs on the date midway between the Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice. It was the lead singer of the Misfits "Glenn Danzig" who introduced me to the Nag Hammadi (Dead Sea Scrolls) and other "lost" books of the Bible.

In the nineties the festival of Halloween has saw re-emergence with an emphasis on themed fancy dress parties and at the extreme end adult parties along the lines of Wasteland ,Torture Garden.

By the naughties my trajectory had moved to an interest in Latin American culture where the Day of the Dead is celebrated by families holding candlelight vigils for their departed loved one at the ceremony.

I had forgotten how the James Bond film “Live and Let Die” had educated me at an early age about different approaches culturally to ;death, funerals and the afterlife.