Unfortunately, thanks to the internet and television, such Western “holidays” as Halloween have spread to Orthodox countries where people could never even have imagined them. Bad habits seem to be picked up much more readily than good ones, and this is no exception. Why don’t people pick up, for example, Thanksgiving Day
“>Thanksgiving Day? Why does the hapless pumpkin, a great source of beta carotene and antioxidants, have to be carved up into demonic “heads” instead of baked into delicious pies?
One Ukrainian author weighs in with his own lament over the basest westernization of his wonderful Orthodox compatriots.
We are on the eve of a holiday that came to us from abroad and has now become almost habitual—Halloween. Let’s talk about it. Let’s even think a little about it.
Amongst the characteristic specifics of our people, we can boldly underscore our love of holidays. Our calendar days off from work alone for holiday celebrations number no fewer than a dozen, and if we mark the professional holidays and days dedicated to everything under the sun, then you have to wonder how 365 days a year is enough to encompass them all. And in the midst of all these holidays we even manage to pick up foreign holidays.
Really, who thirty years ago here had heard of St. Valentine’s Day? We knew nothing of it then, but now—they won’t let you forget it even if you want to. It’s the same situation with Halloween. At first no one could have known about it even in his worst nightmares, and then, thanks to video salons and the outbreak of Perestroika, we found out that there is such a day in America when people dress up as all manner of imps and evil spirits, and now even schoolchildren go to classes dressed up so spookily that when you come to pick up your child you are involuntarily thrown into confusion—are you in a municipal educational institution, or is this a hallucination caused by last night’s horror film? As if we didn’t have enough of our own horrors, we are engrossed in foreign ones.
Of course, I understand that some will express their displeasure, and that these protests will for the most part be filled with very modern meaning, that we are now supposedly in step with the entire civilized world, and blah, blah, blah.
I will immediately say that I will not even try to argue with you—if you want the civilized world, then so be it. Especially since you’ll even find Christians in it.
So, I’m inviting the Christians to think a little about this.
The Cult of Evil SpiritsThe Church knows from experience that playing with demons doesn’t end well.
“>Halloween is essentially the day of unclean spirits. But wait, don’t jump to correct me or explain to me how right you are.
I know perfectly well the history and meaning of this day, but just the same this does not prevent me from saying with all conviction that this is essentially a day of unclean spirits, no more no less.
Moreover, no one actually evokes unclean spirits on this day, no one worships them, has ritual orgies or offers sacrifices. To the contrary, its celebrants regard unclean spirits with extreme unseriousness. But this is worst of all.
Probably, the enemy of mankind achieved his greatest success when secular society ceased to take him seriously. It’s like, he exists, but people aren’t thinking about him. He’s imagined as a mythological being, not frightening or dangerous. From this come the Halloween games, the scary outfits and painted faces, and from this comes the perception of spiritual realities in an ultra-playful form.
And this would all be okay, but the enemy accepts these goings on quite seriously. He knows perfectly well that even what seems to be harmless flirtation with him can lead to the fall of anyone at all. After all, if the enemy is not scary and poses no danger, then we can all just relax in his presence and feel no threat. And he will definitely make use of this.
For example, have you ever noticed how many of the enemy’s tricks Orthodox people often accept as norms of life? “Anger is a natural human emotion,” “Resentment is a normal reaction to the violation of personal space,” “Choose yourself,” “It’s harmful to keep emotions and feelings to yourself”—this is only a small portion of the stupidity that I’ve heard from Orthodox Christians or seen on their social network pages.
But they don’t just write it and say it. They live by it. After all, it’s easier to live that way—no struggle with the passions, viewing any sin as a manifestation of the natural order.
After all, we’re not alone on this path: That longed for “civilized world” has already walked it, and today it’s far ahead of us; it considers the fiercest vices and depravities to be natural.
But they’ve offered us a false substitute, and we didn’t notice it. And what is there to notice when we often do not see anything reprehensible even in our own children’s obvious imitation of unclean spirits. Meanwhile, we don’t notice how our we have stepped upon this path. Now our children are walking in our footsteps, outwardly resembling demons, while we are inwardly enslaving them.
For now, the escape from this situation is simple: We must purify our minds from sinful thought patterns and remember that the Orthodox faith is inseparable from asceticism. And turning to the ascetical traditions of the Church, we will very quickly see and understand what is natural in us, and what has been introduced and is wicked.
It is time for children to learn how to live as the odd man out. Throughout all times, faith had been inalienable to faithfulness to God. I think that the time has come to teach our children that this faithfulness supersedes all friendships, all teachers’ orders, and all social opinion. But what words to choose that will make Halloween to lose its alure to them—this is a problem that each has to solve for himself.
In general, no matter how indifferent we and our families are, it all begins with one thing—in order for our children to listen to us, we have to talk with them. And not only on the eve of Halloween, but all the time.