Note: This weekend many people will celebrate Halloween in many places. I deeply disagree with such celebration. Today I share some thoughts I wrote in Facebook back in 2013 and which I posted later on my Spanish site. I hope these words could be useful to you as you consider the meaning of this “celebration” (?).
I do not celebrate Halloween. I deeply dislike such celebration and even more, I regard its celebration as more harmful than beneficial.
I am a Christian. However, my rejection of Halloween is not due to its supposedly Satanic, or pagan character, or the like. I don’t mind and I am not concerned by any of that; my Christian faith tells me that Jesus Christ is King and there is no force that may stand up to Him, so that reason is rejected.
Neither I say that I do not celebrate Halloween because I prefer to celebrate Reformation Day (which is commemorated on the same day). I certainly commemorate and celebrate Reformation Day but my rejection of Halloween comes from a different reason.
My issue with Halloween is that it is a celebration of the ugly, the dead, the horrific. And that is a celebration that we don’t need.
In my country –and I’m pretty certain that this is not limited to Paraguay, where I am located– we live through horrors and fearful situations which cry to Heaven 365 days per year. We are forced to live and bear with so much ugliness of soul, with so many situations where death is exalted, that attempting a celebration of such things does not seem amusing to me in the least.
We don’t need to showcase what is horrible, what is ugly, what is fearsome. Instead, we need to show the good, the beautiful, the sublime (without, of course, falling into being elitist or exclusionist in the sense of fashionista beauty).
Looking through the history of the arts, and especially taking into account the art production of the Renaissance and the Baroque, one is amazed at the abysmal difference that was between what these works represented, on the one hand, and the harsh reality that everyone, rich or poor, had to live through. The fact is that the contemplation of the good, the beautiful and the sublime show us that we can and we should strive towards something better. Far from being an escapist anestethic to our harrowing reality, such contemplation encourages us not to resign ourselves to this situation and to fight seeking to bring to reality the ideal that a beautiful, fine art (in the classic sense of the word) presents to us.
The good part of all this is that even despite living among such a painful, harrowing reality, there is a lot of beauty among us, inspiring creators, and awaiting to be discovered and celebrated.
Finally, I would leave you this verse from the Holy Scriptures, which my former boss Rev. S. –a worthy pastor, full of honor before God– always quote. It is a good programmatic text to start any aesthetic reflection: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8 ESV).
May God bless us all.