P81031All Saints’ Day is November 1. As the name implies, it is a feast day that honors all Saints. It is one of the most important Holy Days of the Catholic Church. Yet, not many of us know about it.
We are much more familiar with the day before, which had been known as All Hollows’ Eve, and is now known simply as Halloween. Although some of the associated traditions are fun for children, Halloween has become an excuse for people to dress up in costumes, party, ruin perfectly good pumpkins, and behave stupidly. What an unsaintly way to celebrate, just prior to the day designated to honor all Saints!
Saint Patrick’s Day is no better. People dress up in green, party, exchange disposable potted shamrocks, and behave stupidly, all on a day that had been designated to honor a Saint whom they know very little about, and care even less about.
Mardi Gras at least makes a bit more sense, with all the indulgent behavior just prior to forty days of good behavior and fasting. Even societies that do not party for Mardi Gras have old traditions of feasting on foods that will be abstained from through Lent, just to avoid wasting them. It is easy to see how such feasting and indulgence evolved into over indulgence and partying. Mardi Gras lacks a tradition of wasting innocent horticultural commodities like pumpkins and shamrocks.
Easter, at the other end of Lent, is still a respectable Holy Day. Most people know that it is a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, and celebrate accordingly. Perhaps a bit of indulgence is in order after forty days of fasting, Colored eggs nestled in fake grass, and disposable potted lilies, do not seem to be as inappropriate as ruined pumpkins.
Christmas is the most complicated Holy Day of all. It should probably be divided into two separate Holy Days. The primary Christmas should be the celebration of the birthday of Jesus. The secondary Christmas, which could be assigned another day, and given a different name, could be a celebration of disposable potted poinsettias, dead mistletoe, and a fat guy in red coming down chimneys to deliver gifts under dead coniferous trees that would be terribly embarrassed by their tacky adornments if they were alive.
There is more to Holy Days than pumpkins, shamrocks, lilies, poinsettias, mistletoe and coniferous trees.

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19 thoughts on “Horridculture – All Hallows’ Eve

  1. In our catholic Kanton in Switzerland we have a holiday on 1st November. It is the day when the cemeteries have quite a lot of visitors. I was thinking of going for a few photos, but they have predicted rain, so I am still thinking about it. It is the only thing we really have in connection with halloween, which we do not celebrate.

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    1. Well, you got the best and most important part of Halloween. Dia do los Muertos is celebrated, mostly in Mexican communities, on November 2, the day after All Saint’s Day. Unlike Halloween, It really is a respectable Holy Day that honors the deceased in a respectable manner.

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  2. Tony , your curmudgeonly comments are appropriate . Your comments should be a stand up routine . Enjoyed and laughed at every word . BTW some cultures do have 2 Christmas days .

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    1. Thank you. However, I do not think that I could present these comments in a comical manner if I needed to do so directly. I find some of the behavior associated with important Holy Days to be too objectionable. In an episode of ‘The Crazy Ones’ Robin Williams, on his way to a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration surprisingly expressed his disdain for such celebration, and refers to it as racist and the sort of debauchery than no Saint would condone. I wish I could remember it.

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    1. That is how I prefer to think of Halloween; an ‘other people’s’ holiday. It does not affect All Saints’ Day. I would not mind Halloween so much if it were more like Dia de los Muertos, which somehow maintains certain standards, and is still a respectable Holy Day for honoring the deceased.

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  3. An interesting background to Halloween and the holidays that follow. As a Jew, for me it’s always been a day for children to collect free candy from their neighbors. I enjoyed it when our kids were small, and these days I still kind of like giving candy to the local little kids. I always thought Hanukah was similarly distorted. It’s a minor holiday celebrating an armed revolt against one of the kingdoms that emerged out of Alexander the Great’s empire. Somehow that got turned into something about lamp oil lasting longer than people thought it would, which is a lot less interesting.

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    1. How sad. I think of the Jewish Holy Days as maintaining their integrity better than the more popular Holy Days that can be capitalized on. When I grew citrus trees in the early 1990s, we grew kosher ‘Etrog’ citron treess. However, the stock trees had been killed in a historically bad frost in 1990, and the only surviving stock tree was deteriorating. I eventually had to end production because I could not find another kosher stock tree. There were plenty of ‘Etrog’ citron trees available, but none were kosher. (They were grafted like other citrus trees.) When I questioned the other grower who sent my the trees (that I returned), he told me that I could take cuttings from the grafted trees, and than no one had to know that the stock tree was grafted. That really disgusted me.

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      1. Yes, commercially. I mean, there is not an entire shopping season prior to Jewish Holidays. I can not think of any other holiday that is ruined by commercialism quite like Christmas is.

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