Overheard 'Round the Office
September 29, 2004

Co-worker #1: Does anyone know if Halloween is a holiday exclusive to the United States?
*The Smart Chick: I think it is.
Co-worker #2: Yeah, because my sister lives in Copenhagen and she said that in Denmark, they think it's really weird that we celebrate...
Co-worker #1: spirits!?
*The Smart Chick: Yeah tell me about it. And evil ones at that.
Co-worker #3: HA. America...it's full of pagans.

My sentiments exactly. It turns out Halloween is not exclusive to the U.S. in origin, although, the motivation behind something like "All Hollow's Eve" has varying manifestations around the world such as "All Saints Day" or "Day of the Dead". It's amazing what temporary consciousness people have in the workplace. More on this later.

*The "Smart Chick" is me.

Posted by Ambra at September 29, 2004 2:36 AM in Culture
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Do you mean "holiday" as in day off work? We do the dress up thing up here, Canada way, too. Personally, I don't get it when people dress up like fairies or other "fun" things. Boo. Me like the tradition of scary monsters.

Please don't dismiss All Souls Day so casually. As a Catholic (and I know you seem to think that Catholics are not bona fide Christians), All Souls Day is a special time to remember our brothers and sisters and other loved ones who have gone on before us, and with whom we hope to be in continuing communion, should they be in Heaven ('the Communion of Saints').

I've got no time for 'evil spirits,' but I also don't see anything wrong with my son dressing up as Charlie Brown and get a candybar from his grandma and the neighbors. Hardly the Fall of Western Civilization.

Halloween isn't American. See Mexico's "Dia de los Muertes", which is a huge deal. The word comes from Hallowe'en (a contraction of hallowed evening, or the "eve of all hallows"). All Saints Day is a hallowed day, and the night before was reserved for symbolic excorcism of their opposite-the evil spirits. The ghost and goblin part, along w/ the threads, cam much later. Nice looking site Ambra.

Bijan, did you not see where I indicated "Day of the Dead" (english translation of Dia de los Muertas)?

Yup, I saw it. My point was that the commemoration is very big there, with parades and costumes. Very somber though, no Trick or Treat.

From various online dictionaries. I haven't been reading your blog long enough to know why you may not consider us RC real "christians". Would love to know why.

All Saints Day is a universal Christian Feast that honors and remembers all Christian saints, known and unknown. In the Western Church it is kept on Nov 1.
All Souls Day: The commemoration of all the faithful departed is celebrated by the RC Church on 2 Nov.

As Christmas is currently being stolen from us christians, Halloween is already stolen. PS in my house we call him Saint Nicholas...

Umberto wrote: "As a Catholic (and I know you seem to think that Catholics are not bona fide Christians)"
Matt wrote: "I haven't been reading your blog long enough to know why you may not consider us RC real 'christians'. Would love to know why."

Not sure where I implied any of the above. Umberto...aren't we being a tad insecure? Nothing on this website has ever even hinted at the accusation you just made.

Good holiday history lesson. I never new the genesis of Halloween.

I know children love it because they can 'dress up' and visit neighbors to get a candy gift. Neighbors love it to see the children and their costumes. And parents like it because they get to say hello to neighbors they may not have seen for a while.

I gathered it is also celebrated in Canada and Mexico(of sorts). Any other countries anyone?

Thanks all.

My first Halloween in the States my sisters and I couldn't believe it. You mean your parents actually let you go around to other people's houses begging for candy?! We couldn't understand why anyone would do this (where we came from you didn't go around asking strangers for stuff, it implied that your parents couldn't provide for you on their own). Still not into all the Halloween hype but I will be giving out candy for the first time this year. I bought a big box of candy at Sam's Club a while back with out checking the ingredients list first. It's got stuff in it that no one in our household can have so I might as well give it away. It's not all that bad for you as far as candy goes

Anbody else notice that Day of the Dead and Election Day fall on the same day this year?

Me insecure? Sure. But I recall in your review of 'The Passion' something that seemed to suggest that Gibson's dwelling on Mary was very Catholic of him and that basically you were willing to overlook that. I am not saying you are anti-Catholic of course. I would, in fact, welcome your views on the Catholic-Protestant divide.

Here is a site that details the origin of Halloween. Includes custom of Jack-o-Lantern carving:


"Although some cults and devil worshippers may have adopted Halloween as their favorite holiday, the day itself did not grow out of evil practices. It GREW out of the rituals of Celts(Irish) celebrating a new year, and out of Medieval prayer rituals of Europeans. And today, it is only as evil as one cares to make it."

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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