We had our monthly Aoradh family day meal tonight- which happened to coincide with the dreaded Halloween.
Dreaded in my case, as I find the increasing madness around Halloween difficult to stomach. The ‘traditions’ we are inheriting are very recent ones- which owe more to 1970′s American films than they do to any folk traditions native to these islands. This does not in itself make them bad- but in this case, I struggle to understand the point of the whole thing.
An evening to dress up as ghosts and mass murderers and walk the streets eating sweets and chocolate…
Actually, when you put it like that, it sounds rather fun doesn’t it?
And that is the other struggle. We took a decision years ago that as Christians, we wanted to keep away from it all. It had too much of the darkness, and not enough of the light. It sided with the wrong half of the tradition- preferring the celebration of devils and demons that was supposed to be a precursor to the celebration of All Saints Day- a day which passes unnoticed.
But this means that our kids have always missed out on the fun bit, although we are certainly much less strict than we used to be- William went to the school disco, and Emily is old enough to make up her own mind.
But then I see some of the things going on, and my resolve stiffens again.
In the middle of Dunoon, a local hall has set up a little fake graveyard. And above it, they have strung some stuffed white sheets, hung from the neck and splashed with red paint. Quite creative really. Certainly a lot of time was taken.
Except that when I saw them, it looked like ‘strange fruit‘.
And also reminded me of the people who killed themselves by hanging over the last year. Relatives of whom may well be driving past…
Tonight, we shared a meal with our Aoradh friends, and it was lovely. To mark the evening, we decided to play a game of pass the parcel.
We turned of the lights, and passed the parcel in the dark, and each layer of the parcel had a candle, and some words about light. The candle was lit, and the words read.
And as the game went on, it got lighter, as more and more candles were lit.
Eventually we got to the middle- a large candle, and some indoor sparklers.
Which we lit, and prayed.
It was simple and profound, and once more made me very grateful for my friends.