This Halloween got almost every parent preparing for a party that the children “want” to attend. Costumes that range from horror to action heroes-inspired are available everywhere. Trick or Treat became the main thing with children getting loads of sweets in the end.
It all seems fun but taking a closer look, we have to be honest with ourselves: the Halloween has grown so devoid of meaning. In our country, it has become so apparent how this colonial mentality of having to copy the Western culture mixed with consumerism is causing more damage than good to us and to our children.
When before, the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days are being spent in solemnity, in reverence to those who have passed on before us. Now it has become another point when we are at the height of wasting our resources.
I have been wondering where all these things have come from, and tracing this phenomenon led me to the times during my childhood. Those days, I recall my grandmother being in a solemn mood and prepare sticky rice that we will leave on the altar or bring to the cemetery and offer them to the departed.
While on the other hand, TV showed loads and loads of horror stories about ghosts and other ‘supernatural’ stories. They were presented in such a way that they become tormenting to some viewers. Those things that were aired gave an image that the spiritual world is something that we should repel ourselves from. So while our oldies are in deep reverence to this commemoration, the media began demonizing the spirits of our ancestors; cultivating a breeding ground for fear and distraction… And we started believing. Because of this, the desire to deviate from this tradition grew strong in our generation. And what better way to remove these fears…? By presenting distractions.
Outwardly, it would seem that we have not forgotten Halloween. Inwardly though, there is an utter disconnect to the spirit world, to the heritage that our ancestors have lovingly left us. Loud music and competitions got the best of the tradition.
I cannot really say that these Halloween parties everywhere are not good. And I can’t say that media is all to be blamed. After all, no one is responsible for our choices but us.
What’s terrible though is the apparent loss of introspection and forgetfulness of this ceremony’s derivation by us. As human beings who have the faculty to think, we ought to understand why this tradition was created by those who have come before us; and in the process, consciously make an effort to weave its meaning in our own lives.
Long ago, consumerism got Christmas. Now, it has gotten Halloween too.
Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan is a mother of two and a nurturer at Tuburan Institute. For questions, comments, and suggestions, please feel free to email her firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Tuburan Institute at www.tuburaninstitute.org.