Monday, October 31, 2005

HOllow-een?

Tonight, I had a couple of kids knock at my door for candies. Unfortunately, I did not have any sweet - except for some dark chocolate - irk! The reason why I was taken aback is that... I live in Paris and not in the U.S.

Since the late-90s, Halloween has become more popular with French kids. But it has been very controversial - a lot of (especially older) people see it as another sign of American culture invasion and as a marketing strategy to sell more stuff to the kids. (France Télécom, McDonald's, Disney, and Coca Cola have been using pumpkins and other Halloween images for years) - so this year, it has been much more discreet. Hardly anything in the stores...

My position is : who cares one way or the other if it makes the kids happy! It is probably better if it's not used as a marketing tool for sure but the celebration itself by the kids, why not... [I just don't think "trick or treat" would translate! ]

Besides, there is some irony in this celebration.

Let's remember that Halloween was originally a Pagan Celtic celebration of the spirits that rose from the dead and mingled with the living. Some sources say that Celts in northern France also celebrated Halloween, but this is unconfirmed. In any case, Halloween is not a traditional French holiday. In any case, the present Christian celebration (which is a traditional holiday in France) was established to detract attention from the pagan celebration. November 1st is All Saint's Day (la Toussaint) in France, in celebration of saints who do not have their own holy day. Traditionally, it is a day of remembrance of the dead.

Etymology : "Halloween" is derived from Hallowe'en, an old contraction, still retained in Ireland, Scotland and some parts of Canada, of "All Hallow's Eve," so called as it is the evening (or eve) before the feast of All Saints, which used to be called "All Hallows" derived from All Hallowed Souls [hallow = to render holy]

If you want to know more about Halloween in France, go there and more general info on Halloween, go here. .

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