The Halloween Special

I love Halloween. I think it might be my favorite holiday, and it’s not really because I like spooky things. I actually kind of hate horror movies. The reason I love Halloween is because in the pantheon of modern holidays it stands out. Most holidays in the western world have been rebranded and repackaged to fit a christian theme or a specific nation. It’s traditional to go to church on Christmas and Easter, even if bunnies and fat men in red suits don’t get mentioned even once in the bible. But Halloween is different. There’s no awkward attempt to justify its existence.

Halloween is an out of the closet pagan holiday, and it /feels/ pagan. It feels old.

And that’s because it is. And I love that.

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    1. Saint Nicholas wasn’t known for wearing a red suit. Traditionally he was in tan, actually. Odin has /far/ more in common with the fat man in a red suit giving gifts with 8 tiny reindeer (which sounds like a mangled retelling of Sleipnir, to be honest).

      Also, if you think the catholic church was happy about pagan rituals in its resurrection story, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

  1. Very good episode! I’m an American living in Northern Ireland the past three years. I’ve always found it curious as to why they love Halloween so much. I too had mistakenly assumed this was an American imported holiday. Here in Ireland it’s a much bigger deal and the biggest fireworks night of the year. Now I’m happy to know and tell my friends back in the US I’m in the heart of where it all started. Thanks again for the episode and hope to hear future Ulster Scots history! You should visit sometime!

  2. Nice episode! As a German, I am allowed to complain about the invasion of Halloween (and do so every year) because it killed our local tradition, the Martinisinging. Martini (10th November) was my favourite holiday as a child, growing up in a village in Thuringia, in the middle of Germany. Small groups of children were gathering with paper lanterns, the older kids had hollow turnips with spooky faces and candles in them (pumpkins don’t originally grow in Europe). Then, we walked from door to door, singing one of two songs and got candy for this. The only time in the year when even as a small child you were out in the dark with no parents and open fire (the candle). Every year, at least one child in my group managed to burn down the lantern.
    Nowdays, there are almost no children left in my village AND the very few left “celebrate” Halloween . It started in the late 90s. Protected by their parents, they go to some people in the village the parents know (friends or family). Very few older kids, last time it were 4 in total, go without parents and just yell “Süßes, oder es gibt Saures!” (treat or trick) at you. And every year I told them to come back about 10 days later, because I’m not American. “But it’s Halloween!”… “Come back on Martini, I’m still not American.”. Yes, I am that kind of person ;) Now that I moved to the nearby city, there’s just the Martini celebration in front of the cathedral with thousands of kids, parents and others watching the story of St. Martin and a prayer, each kid with it’s LED lantern, because fire is dangerous. Another tradition died.

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