Where we are and where we will be

Where we are and where we will be
The idea of Edinburgh is a combination of place, soul and symbolic leadership of a nation

Thursday, 30 October 2008

What does it all mean Dad?

As my kids get ready for guising tomorrow I've been asked how I can be a Christian and celebrate Hallowe'en. Well here goes;

Hallowe’en is a weaving together of tradition and history which is captured in the diverse mix of symbolism that epitomises Hallowe’en events. We have witches, warlocks and dark spirits on one hand and light and new life in apples, sweets and sharing good things on the other. Some things come from the Samhainn or Samhuin, end of summer, beginning of harvest traditions, others from the Christian “Hallowing” or cleansing of the day before All Saints days, yet more from the Gaelic culture of spirits and good and evil. No one group can “claim” Hallowe’en as their own nor reject it as “against” their beliefs. What matters is what we tell our children.

As a Christian I believe in the power of hope and forgiveness even when these thing seem impossible. Hallowe'en is for me the preparation of a time when we clear our minds of negative thinking to reflect on the lives of all who have gone before us, family, friend and stranger, waiting to celebrate the potential of saintliness in everyone, known and unknown. It shows that death need not be the end and that a willingness to love and be loved can mean the lives of others can be changed for the better even we are dead.

The spirits and ghouls represent the pressures and forces that lead to bad choices. The light and food and fun and sharing speak of new life, harvest and the power of positive relationships that give us the strength to make good choices and live positively for others and for ourselves.

Carefully explained to children, the hallowe’en fun and laughter of guising, tumshie lanterns, dooking for apples and sharing out sweets can also speak of hope and love even beyond death and so should be enjoyed for that alone.


Anonymous said...

As a traditionalist, I would like to applaud your use of and reference to a turnip lantern. I resent the disneyfication of our culture and the way that the pumpkin has usurped our own home-grown neep.

Fair enough, it may be easier to carve but nevertheless it's an imposter and a pale imitation of the real thing. It's the grey squirrel of the vegetable world.

The turnip, on the other hand, epitomises Hallow'een. It's a dense, ugly, unloved, uneven, lumpen, knobbly thing. It has a sharp, unusual flavour, not to everyone's taste. It's a cheap, mean-spirited vegetable, so cheap in fact that its principal use is as livestock feed.

When I see a turnip lantern I imagine the witches of Macbeth, black smoke and foul-smelling cauldrons. Pumpkins, pah! A cartoon version of the real thing.

In any case, I don't think that you have to justify anything. Even Christians are entitled to take the day off and flirt with the dark side for one night of the year, surely?

Ewan said...

The truth is, Christians flirt with the dark side all the time-we would not be human otherwise! And thanks for the support on timshie lanterns; the pumpkin is a poor, workshy substitute for a quality product that is deeply rooted (wee pun there) in our Presbyterian heritage, (no pain no gain!)- and burnt turnip smells much better then cindered pumpkin!

go well


Surgery Times

1st Wed @ Piershill Library, 30 Piershill Terrace.
2nd Wed @ Craigentinny Community Centre, Loaning Rd.
3rd Wed @ Duddingston Primary School, Duddingston Rd.

All 7:15pm -7:45pm

and the last Sat. Lochend YWCA, 198 Restalrig Road South
12noon -1pm

(no appointment needed, all during school terms)
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