It is that time of year again alright. Everywhere one turns, there’s that commercialist aura of Halloween making its ominous presence felt, so much like the very ghosts that it honors. The media, another lingering, if not malevolent spirit (although this is subject for debate), guides it along like a child, coaxing it to go trick-or-treating down everyone’s consciousness with its nightly tales of horror, zombies and ghost stories on TV, social media, and complete with a furious barrage of notices of sales on grotesque masks, props and costumes for kids and adults at all stores and malls. Ironically, this frenzy of material consumption, all in the name (and excuse) of clean fun, is gone in a day, after, like fleeing vampires at sunrise.
What then follows in its “wake” is the traditional Christian celebration of All Saints Day (or All Hallows Day) and All Souls Day. These too, like Halloween, have indeed come a long way. In the early days, say the 60s in Davao at least, November 1 and 2 have generally been celebrated in a solemn if not sober manner, with everyone flocking to cemeteries, lighting candles on the graves of and “communing” with our dearly departed. For some teens of the time, being at the cemeteries meant communing with friends and love interests, and taking a swig, all away from elders of course. The scare tactics by grown-ups on children then, all revolved around Halloween as that special one-day pass for all spirits to walk the earth and wreck havoc on the wits of kids.
Through the years, the celebrations have slowly turned more festive up till their present commercial and secular state today. For one thing, in our country, they collectively mark the formal entry to the Christmas season, even though except for nothing but the most commercial reasons again, the yuletide celebration had unofficially begun in Septemberrr.
Who can ever forget that every year like clockwork, once that brr-month comes in, carols begin creeping like poltergeist into the airwaves, and invade into the piped-in playlists of enterprising and shrewd malls and stores? But then again, that may be a story for another time.
Still, the similarities and kinship between our celebrations of both Halloween and Christmastime cannot be fully ignored. Modern man’s fixation with death and rebirth, damnation and salvation, are all too obvious, despite them being cleanly-coated in all the fineries of a bacchanal fiesta. I guess that’s what separates us from the grey aliens of the universe. On the whole, whether Christians or not, deep inside we are all true-blue Hedonists at heart. So, eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow, we…
eat, drink and be merry again.