Is Halloween ‘Un-Australian’?
My son reminded me recently that it is Halloween soon (yes, it is today). He doesn’t want the trick or treating or the scary monster stuff, he just enjoys have a little celebration to mark Spring and that school will be over soon and Xmas and the long summer holidays will be coming. We don’t have any formal spring celebration here (since Easter is the true ‘spring’ celebration, but for us it is in autumn). So Halloween is a good one for it.
So many of the older generation seem to begrudge our kids – and young adults – the right to enjoy Halloween. They are just showing their age. We didn’t have it, so why should our kids have it? Huh? Why not? Our younger generation have been doing it since at least the early 2000s, probably since the 1990s. So they have grown up doing it, so for them it is now part of their everyday way of life in this country, ie, it IS Australian for them.
They aren’t doing it because of all the advertising in the shops, they are doing it most likely because of our modern global village world and with the internet they see so much of it that they want to do it too. And why can’t they? The only reason ever given is, ‘because it is American.’ Huh? What sort of reason is that? Sounds like prejudice to me. Oh, it’s American = bad. Funny how it is prejudice if you criticize any other culture, but they seem to think it isn’t prejudice when you criticise something because “it is American”.
‘Because it is not part of Australian culture.’ Oh, you mean it is not of Aboriginal heritage? I doubt that is what the mean. They mean because it didn’t come over with the first fleet. To begin with, cultures are constantly evolving. I mean, if we didn’t allow cultures to evolve we’d all be living in the caves. Hey, we don’t wear crinolines any more either and women have the vote, I mean, come on…
And as for it not coming over with the first fleet … well, don’t know about that. It is an old Scottish tradition so would have come over here with any Scots, and there are mentions of it in colonial newspapers. Here is an example of an early Halloween celebration held in Victoria – in Mount Alexander Mail, on 22 October 1858.
(source TROVE: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199051715)
As I said, Halloween is an old Scottish tradition (how did it get to American? It isn’t an American Native tradition) and it is based on an old pagan Celtic tradition – Samhain.
But even apart from all that – why can’t we celebrate it in Australia? Huh? If we want to we can. That doesn’t mean we HAVE to if we don’t want to, it just means, if people think it is fun, why not go for it?