Multi-layered and complicated.
Who do you invite? Everyone? Just a few? How much do you share of the sacred with others? It goes all the way down to what day you celebrate the holiday. It’s stressful, especially when you don’t celebrate the holiday any more or celebrate an alternate holiday that also happens to kind of sort of fall around the same time. We won’t even mention the mother-in-law and her pouting that should commence in a few short weeks over why we’re not heading out there for the holidays.
Halloween (and fall in general), though, is very easy. There are plenty of secular things to do: carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating, dinner, pumpkin patch, apple orchard, etc. There are no other holidays near it that require juggling of priorities or avoiding hurt feelings and none of my family members have sacred traditions that intersect. It’s kind of a relief and a great deal easier to just relax and have fun!
We invited my parents over to carve pumpkins with the kids. Actually, it turned out that my husband and my dad did most of the carving with the kids which was wonderful. No, really…WONDERFUL! My youngest sister and her husband came over around lunch time on a totally unrelated matter (didn’t think they’d be interested in the carving, but I’ll remember to invite them next year). We had chili, ice cream cake courtesy of my parents, and lots of fun. It was the perfect way to begin what has in all honesty become a week-long celebration.
Tomorrow begins the shift from candy and costumes to the sacred as we “light” (battery operated candle – yes, a bit odd, but I can leave it lit all night without starting the house on fire) the candle on the mantle as a reminder that we are here in this place because of our ancestors. They’re part of the land…part of you and me. Though they have passed, they are never really gone as they live on in our memories. Roots to grow wings I like to call it. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be candy and trick-or-treating. Wednesday is half and half: half sacred, half cultural festivities.
Thursday is a time to focus on the sacred. We’re going to head out to where the voice of the Divine speaks loudest and enjoy a tasty holiday meal while we talk about those who have gone on and share our thanks for the land that feeds us and our ancestors who made us what we are today.