Saturday, October 31, 2009

On This Day (Oct 31st)

Today is October 31st. It is a day many kids look forward to. Parents stock up candies and goodies to provide treats to little children knocking at their doors. The treat for parents and adults is to see the creative dressing some of the little ones wear. Some communities set off fireworks like what people in the UK do on Guy Fawkes Day. It is a celebration of sorts where people hand out all kinds of sweet stuff. It is a candy-paradise time for those of us with a hopeless sweet tooth. Incidentally, amid all the fun, do you know that October 31st is also significant for something else besides Halloween?

On this day in 1517, the German scholar Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of Wittenburg, Germany. Sometimes October 31st is also known as "Reformation Day." This is a significant event for those of us who familiar with the Protestant movement, which represented a breakaway from the then dominant Roman Catholic Church in West Europe. Other political events also figure though less prominently. In 1984 this day, the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated. More recently in 2003, the Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammed stepped down from the highest political post of the land of Malaysia.

Yet people tend to remember Halloween more than anything else. People celebrate simply because of fun.  Well, while I am not against fun, it will be quite a pity that in the midst of enjoying ourselves in the festivities, we forget the history. What I find particularly helpful from a Christian perspective is that October 31st is actually a preparation for All Saints Day which is held on Nov 1st. Hence. Oct 31st is also known as "All Hallowed Eve's" day. It is a day to remember some of the saints of old, especially the ones martyred for the faith. Somehow, this tradition has been mysteriously mixed up with witches, pumpkins, witchcraft and all kinds of ghastly makeup. Well, people just want to have fun. Unfortunately with the fun, they fail to remind one another enough of the sacred tradition behind All Saints Day (Nov 1st) and Reformation Day.(Oct 31st).Maybe, these events in history is not as fun as sucking a lollipop, or crunching on chocolates. Incidentally, there is a friend of mine that may not be as famous as Martin Luther, but I am sure sometimes she feels Halloween is given an unfair coverage (and attention by friends) over her birthday.  Cheer up Rosie. Happy Birthday!

Let us not forget tradition. Didn't our teachers and dentists tell us that too much candy is no good for our teeth? Well, will excessive fun be any good for the soul?


1 comment:

Rosie Perera said...

Thanks, Conrade! I don't mind Halloween coinciding with my birthday. It makes it easier for people to remember, and I get to have candy. :-)

Except I did used to hate the tiresome Halloween birthday cards (yes, they do exist) which said " my little witch" and such. Fortunately nobody does that to me anymore.

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