Let’s have honourable holidays

Let’s have honourable holidays
By Ken Waddell
At the end of the year seems to have more “significant” days than other times of the year. We have Thanksgiving in early October, Hallowe’en on Oct. 31, Remembrance Day on Nov. 11, Christmas on Dec. 25 and Boxing Day on Dec. 26. That’s closely followed by New Year’s Day, which of course is at the beginning of the year but follows so closely on the heels of Christmas that it feels like the end of the year.
How we view each of these days is a study in human behaviour.
Thanksgiving is an obvious celebration. Harvest is coming in, food is abundant. We stop and be thankful for all the blessings that have come our way. It’s an easy holiday to embrace.
Hallowe’en is the strangest of significant days. It’s devoted to a worship of death and all things scary. It has become a huge retail event  and that simply baffles me. The celebration, if you can call it that, is focussed on graves, witches, death and gory, scary things. That we want to celebrate this day at all is somewhat amazing and disturbing. Why would we celebrate a day devoted to death? And furthermore, it’s not about a peaceful transitional death that’s talked about in the Christian faith. It’s about a troubled, violent death, the more gore and fright the better.
In my mind, Hallowe’en is one holiday that can pass into the history books and never be re-visited and we would all be better off.
Remembrance Day is quite another matter. While it deals with death and the horrors of war, it shows that in times of trouble, a nation can depend on the fact that good men and women will rise to the defense of the defenseless; that countries can and will work together to fend off evil. It in no way negates the need to avoid war but rather it reminds us all of the possible need for a sacrifice  when the stakes are high.
Christmas is about giving. That “God gave his only Son” is the theme message. It has been commercialized and yes, it has been perverted somewhat by many. However, the theme of giving is honoured; there’s the  thrill of showing love to one another in gathering and gifting. Only God could give the ultimate gift but we can honour that and each other by giving as best we can. The theme is solid, the message is pure. God gives life to us all initially on earth and eternally in Heaven to those who accept his ultimate gift.
Boxing Day is a bit frivolous but it reflects and extends the Christmas message. It’s a huge shopping day but you have to be a dedicated consumer to survive the rush. It’s better to stay at home and rest up.
New Year’s is a bit different. We celebrate the new year at a rather arbitrarily set date. New is good. Noting where we want to go and where we have been is a good thing. New Year’s is good. If a person stays away from the boozy side of life, it’s even better. The old tradition of kissing a whole bunch of people at midnight is wearing thinner with each passing pandemic. I think SARS pretty much smothered the big kissing thing. H1N1 should about kill it off. Anyway, New Year’s is good. 
So out of these late season special days one has to wonder with the abundance of Thanksgiving, the reverence of Remembrance Day, the giving of life emulated at Christmas and the fresh start signified by New Year’s, why would we celebrate the death holiday Hallowe’en?
Beats me, but I know that when it’s over I’m a happier man. If it never started, I would be even happier.

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