Friday, 2 November 2007

Not The Halloween I Know

(Let's pretend I posted this on time.)

Samhain I love Halloween. Fires, dancing, soul-singing, tricks, treats, apple pie. Unfortunately, the Halloween I love depreciated over the years thank you very much American-spawned commercialism. Today's Halloween is what I prefer to call Hallmark Halloween, along with Hallmark Easter and Hallmark Christmas. Today's Hallmark and Hershey's holiday is about spooks (and marketing money out of it). Scaring people with images of gore, darkness, and death. Fearing otherworldy beings and mocking their existence. No, All Hallows is not about fear and scare. While fear is natural, it is not for this day. The whole point of this yearly feast is to grow appreciation and respect for that necessary fact of darkness. It's about death, our mortality, the fragility of life, and the inevitable end. This day marks remembrance. Of old things, of dead things; roots, ancestors, the hidden and lost, the inevitable coming of winter (with our without snow, it's still winter), silence, darkness, last harvests, shadows, mysteries.

That is the All Hallows I know. Much like the Irish Samhain and Korean Chusok. Much like the local Undras. (Yeah, before it got bastardised, and yes with an R.)

And since today is about ancestral backtracking, I backtrack to an old post from two years back.

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Music playing: “Elysium” – Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerard

First day of the month. First day of November. Summer rains and warm breezes are all fading into chilly whispers. The inevitable chill shall cover the earth once again.

Allhallows1 On this day, of whose night is darkest amongst all nights, and yet brightest as all candles are lit, we remember those who have gone. Those who had woven all their shares in the fate of the world. Fetched by grey steeds; boarded on grey ships into the Parting Seas. Those who had earned their still passage into the Undying Lands. We remember. We give honour and hail.

Hail, the Blessed Dead. And all our fathers and mothers of old before us. To the line of our people back to the beginning.

We remember. Hail.

On this same day and night, as we commit to our ancestral rites, we remember the place of death in the world, interim and absolute; of an inescapable and fragile mortality we must all acknowledge, from simple to tragic. At the same time, we are reminded as well that this passage should not be feared, nor bitterly received when the time comes. Such reflections are the purpose of this time.

But for now, as all pilgrims not through with their journeys, we pray Death another year: “You have your own place, Death, and this is not it. There you rule as queen; here we are the most common of people. There you dwell in a noble palace; here we live in a simple house. There you enjoy sparkling riches; here our poverty shames us. Go to your place, Death, and wait for us there. We have heard your message and we will respond. But we are busy here, Death. We have many things to do. Be patient, we will respond, but only when the time is right. Return to your home, Death, and wait for us to come. For you it will be only a little while. For us it will be a lifetime.” [Ceisiwr Serith]

We pray you O' Coverer another year. A few dozen more, even. And until that time comes when we have grown weary of the world, we will pray again a couple more.


  1. If my memory serves me correctly, Undras is a dialectal variation.. Right? :)

  2. Yes, indeed. It still hurts my ears when I hear "Undas" in Manila. It feels like there's something missing. ^_^

  3. things change. it is inevitable. but who knows, maybe the gods change as well. ;)

    been a long time...hope we could meet. i'll bring a friend along. he's cute but he's not for the taking. hahaha!

  4. Of course things change, Bern. The changing minds of the Powers that Be reflect on the world. But as sentient living organisms, we should know which changes to accept/reject and fight for/fight against the changes that we want/don't want.

    Text mo ako! It's been too long. Bring your friend, won't hurt to meet a new acquaintance. ;)