I used to have this thing where I would refuse to celebrate any holiday unless I knew its origins and meaning. And then, if it was meaningful to me, I'd try and celebrate in a way that was a little truer and deeper than the popular norm. I was a real snob about it for a while, too. But I'm glad for it, because it still helps me to see beyond the commercialism of most of our holidays and catch a glimpse of the "holy days" they are meant to be.
Enter Halloween. Halloween has always had a certain special place in my heart. I'm connected to it in ways that I'm not to other holidays. And so on my years-ago quest to find true meaning in the holidays we celebrate, this one was top on my list.
While I'm not an anthropologist or a historian, I am fascinated by rituals all over the world to honor a people's dead. Some that I've read about happen in the springtime, but most take place at the end of summer - anywhere between the end of August to the end of October. From Samhain in the Celtic tradition, to Dias de los Muertos in Mexico, to Chuseok in Korea, and of course the Catholic All Saint's Day, people all over the world give thanks for the harvest and honor their ancestors at this time of year. Which I think is so beautiful. What could be more holy?
And so I like to think about that at this time of year, and add a little ...
(Butterflies, to celebrate the monarch butterflies' annual migration south at this time of year; some cultures in South America believe that their ancestors are reincarnated as the butterflies. Sweet, huh?)
Happy "Summer's End" to you, however you celebrate!