All Hallows Eve: Pseudohistorical Notes


An edited excerpt from my invitation to 2014's Hallowe'en

For the Celts, it was the beginning of a new year. For kids, it is a feast of sweets galore. And for teenagers, it is an awesome party.

And actually, it is supposed to be all three.

Hallowe'en, All Hallows Eve or Samhain (and I am sure there are other names) is, for several reasons, the holiday of the year. Hallowe'en means much more to me than Christmas with its standing in front of a decorated tree and looking forward to opening the presents sitting below it, or Easter, with its hunting for coloured eggs. Hallowe'en, October 31st, is the day when you are free to do whatever you like. Literally. It's the day that allows you to become who you are by not being who you are.

Before it is all taken from you again on November 1st.

Let me explain in more detail:

All year, you play by the rules, try to live up to other people's expectations, and wear the mask you and others put on your face. Even if you don't know - even if you believe you are exactly who you want to be, and even if you're proud of who you are at all times - you are actually playing a role.

But on Hallowe'en, you can throw away the mask.

Hallowe'en is the day to do only what you really want to do. That is to say: if your picture-perfect day is one of lying on the couch reading a book, then that is what you should do. If your ideal night would be blowing up a house, on the other hand, then go ahead and light the fuse.

One might be inclined to say: this is ridiculous. This is anarchic, idiotic and would never work in the real world.

However, in truth, you should ask yourself what tragic revelation this statement carries within itself: Allowing people to blow up a house if they want to, to destroy a place and endanger other beings - means we believe that there actually are people who would make use of this "right" of sorts; who would actually go ahead and blow up a house.

Therefore, Hallowe'en should be glorified as the day we learn the whole truth about ourselves as individuals - ("Would I destroy if people let me?") - as well as about our species in more general terms. Because, even if there was somebody who'd kill others just because some guy came around and said "hey, it's Hallowe'en, today you can!", this doesn't necessarily imply that people are "evil." On the contrary - seeing how people can be capable of something as bad as killing, even if they are everything other than "evil" in everyday life, only puts a rather remarkable emphasis on how "good" people can be. So good, in fact, that they repress their anger and destructive impulses for the sake of others every day of the year (except on Hallowe'en, mayhaps). People dragging along their hatred and evil are still capable of integrating themselves into a society, of living alongside others, of doing nice things and being content doing these things.

Like I said - Hallowe'en is the day we learn everything about ourselves. The day of revelation.

So, after spending one day exactly the way you wanted to, on November 1st something awesome happens: a general reset. Even if the year does not change when you write down today's date, 12 AM on November 1st is the point in the year when YOU change entirely, if you allow yourself to. You break free from your former self and start a new life as a new being - for exactly one year, before the reset happens again. This is what you should keep in mind when October 31st begins. Today is the last day of you as you know yourself, so do whatever this version of you really, really, really wants to do - before it is too late. Who knows what November 1st-You hopes and longs for as opposed to October 31st-You?

But there is more. Hallowe'en being a day the unknowing associate with "bad stuff", something astounding and incredible transpires during those wonderful twenty-four hours: All the evil ghosts and gods and fairies some people believe in - they come to life. While a person's belief makes those ghosts real for the person themselves, on a day like Hallowe'en, when "the veil between the world of the living and the realm of the dead is lifted", the mutual fear of those unknowing people combined with the generally conceived "evil" and "darkness" of the day itself work together to make the impossible possible. For one day (nights included), whatever people may think is real - becomes real. Hallowe'en is the one day every atheist might believe in god if they choose to do so. Because for that one special amazing day, that creature exists without a doubt, dreamed up by the brains of thousands of deluded people, empowered by a day sparking fear in many stupid minds.

The day of revelation - the day before you "die" - the day of absolute freedom.