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Thursday, 23 October 2008

’Allo, ’allo, ’allo

It’s that time again, when pious Christians (and probably those of other faiths, who knows?) decide they want to complain when people have fun.

Yes, Hallowe’en is just around the corner, and I read on the MediaWatchWatch blog that in the Scottish town of Banff a Christian alliance of churches, Banff Churches Together, are bleating about a Hallowe’en display in a local shop. You can see it in the photo on this post.

Here’s what Fiona Stewart of that organisation has told the Banffshire Journal:

We were alarmed by the nature of the Castlegate window display and the entrance to the Eastside Shopping Centre.

The displays relate to cemeteries and, as Christians, we take the view that they are disrespectful to our faithful departed.

We have no problem with children dressing up and having fun at Hallowe’en, but we are concerned that these displays are particularly morbid.

The word Hallowe’en derives from the term ‘All Hallows’ Eve’ and is the date before the Feast of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls, when Christians respectfully remember all the saints and martyrs and people who have died throughout the centuries.

We do not think the manner of these displays is in keeping with the respectful remembrance of the faithful departed.

The shop owner has more or less told them to go to hell. No way is he dismantling his display after he’s gone to a lot of trouble to create it, he says. Good for him.

Anyway, as secularists and other more reasoned people tire of telling these Christian killjoys, the festivals they have appropriated were someone else’s: they belonged to pagans. As MediaWatchWatch points out, the festival now called Hallowe’en (or Eve of All Hallows) was and is Samhain, which marks the end of the harvest season, among other things. The term comes from the name of a month in the ancient Celtic calendar.

As with other festivals, Christians needed to impose their own on top of what was here as a way of getting them accepted. That goes for Christmas and Easter.

Anyway, Happy Hallowe’en, everybody. Whoooo-oooo, and all that.

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