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The Trivialization of Good and Evil
Donald Duck comics were banned from
An old law in Bellingham, Washington, made it illegal for a
In Western culture, which has spread to much of the rest of the world, we celebrate certain days in remembrance of major developments of the past. It is noteworthy to look at two of these prominent holidays−Halloween and Easter−and see that they are like bookends on the spectrum of the cultural response to good and evil. And almost right in the middle are Christmas, a celebration at the end of the year, and New Years Day, a celebration of the beginning of the year, a celebration that goes back to the celebration of a new cosmic age.
Halloween, literally "All Hallows Evening" or "Holy Evening",
sometimes called "fright night" is now the United States' second most
popular holiday (after Christmas) for decorating. These decorations
run along the lines of witches,
spiders, mummies, zombies, and vampires,
tombstones and gargoyles, all of which are associated with evil, peril,
and death. It is often considered to be the most fun holiday,
being celebrated with
parties and balls, special food and drink, and special games and other
party activities such as
bobbing for apples. Costume parties are popular, sometimes with
elaborate costumes and masks, sometimes of macabre grotesquery. It is generally
thought of as a night of revelry, with some of the very worst of human behavior implied
by the extortion
for treats during "trick or treat" visits, and the vandalism.
By some it is seen as an excuse to run wild.
Because of all this it is the time of greatest demand on police and emergency
The Easter holiday as observed in the West is now a Christianized festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary. Unlike Halloween, the spirit cultivated at the Easter holiday is more one of sober reflections than revelry, it is focused on ostensibly good and wholesome things, and it is at least superficially pointed toward the beginning of life rather than death.
Like Halloween, the roots of the holiday go back to the same development that spawned the Passover, and in some cultures the word for the holiday reflects the derivation from the Passover. Etymologically, the word has its original roots in Ishtar, the star of Venus. This is reflected in the connection of the Easter holiday to Eos, the goddess of dawn, Venus, the goddess of heaven, and various fertility goddesses associated with the planet Venus.
Similar to Halloween, The original holiday Easter was celebrated with special activities, some of which reflect the goddess of fertility theme. Of course, hunting for brightly colored eggs hidden by the Easter bunny is one of these.
The bottom line is that in our celebration of these two holidays we indulge in the trivialization of both good and evil. For Halloween we do it by focusing on unreal, exagerated, or fictional evils−ghostly dead souls returning, witches, devils, demons and evil spirits, ghouls, zombies, etc., all of which have nothing to do with the REAL evil experienced under the human condition. And for Easter we do it by a more somber focus on superficial or temporary surface virtue−cleaning up and dressing up in our finest clothing, going to a church service, paying our once or twice a year respects, thinking good thoughts about God's sacrifice and praying, all of which have nothing to do with real virtue or the real issues that face us under the human condition.
Noteworthy is that most people neither know nor care anything about the cause or instigation of these holidays and their original meaning. Of course, one common thing these holidays share is candy, lot's of candy! What fun we can have with a sugar high in our state of denial!