Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween, without the Ghoulies, Ghosties, Long-leggedy Beasties...

"'Twas the night before Halloween when all through the house...." Exciting night this Halloween, with the young and old looking forward to it.

For the ancient Celts, it was between a harvest thanksgiving celebration and the new year. But instead of partying and choruses of the Auld Lang Syne, there were spooks and ghosts and ghouls. And that has been the legacy we today have inherited from the ancients, and Halloween has become the season of the ghoulies, ghosties, long-leggedy beasties, and everything else that go bump in the night.

The Chinese have a similar celebration called the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts, held on the full moon night of the seventh lunar month. It is said that nether ghosts emerge from the spiritual realm to walk the land of the living. The living burn joss paper and lay food on the roadsides for these transient spirits. Candles are also lit and strewn along the roadsides, for people fear the concept of a wayward ghost wandering into an unsuspecting home and terrorizing it unintentionally.

As still believed, there are among this throng from hell victims of heinous and unsolved crimes and forgotten accidents, and that the time of the Festival is their opportunity to haunt the guilty known only to them.

The food on the streets is also for the spirits who may happen to go hungry along the way, so it does not need to harass any nearby houses or restaurants.

In this day and age when be boast of rationality and "superior logic," why do we need to celebrate anything as spiritual as Halloween or Hungry Ghost Festival? For the fun of it? Because ghosts are reported worldwide and are probably true?

Human nature has always asked the question, "Why does man have to die?" Death is a discontinuation of contact between the expiring organism and the world around him. Any influence that has existed between the two disappears upon the death of the organism. All that is left is a memory. Upon death, it will be up to those that yet live to continue what has been started.

This Halloween, amidst the trick-or-treats and the scary movies and the illusions of fearsome monsters, let us remember our loved ones who have given their lives so it would go better for us. For those who have lived their lives with us in their hearts even when we were still unborn. Maybe this is what the Psalmist in the Bible meant when he, while attributing the song to God, said, "your eyes saw my unformed body" (Psalm 139:16 New International Version). Our parents, while they have yet newly entered the doorsteps of married life, saw our unformed bodies and promptly started to make a life for us.

For the people who have done us wrong. It may be too much to ask that we remember them too, yet afford a glimpse at this notion: that they have been set before us as examples we must not follow. Some of us complain and say, "Well, if there's a God, why does He allow this jerk to live? He's done nothing for the betterment of our lives, so why does he yet prosper?" Maybe his personal welfare is not why God or life has kept this "jerk" alive today. Maybe his presence makes yourself ask the question whether the path you take today is somewhere near the path that made him what he is. Or maybe it will always be a reminder for you to guide your loved ones—like sons, daughters, or grandchildren—more diligently. In this case, we may need to give these "bad examples" the proper respect just the same.

In the Bible, King Saul lived as a bad example for David. The former was a king who was acting like a bloodthirsty maniac chasing the young warrior, who would not lift a finger against "the LORD's anointed," all around ancient Palestine. Did David later live his life like Saul? Read I and II Samuel and find out for yourself that he did not. In fact, while all his colleagues were urging him to take the opportunity and slay Saul while he relieved himself in the same cave David and his men were hiding in (I Samuel 24:3), David retorted: "The LORD forbid that I do such a thing to my master...for he is the anointed of the LORD" (verse 6).

Therefore, think before you treat this "good-for-nothing nobody" like dirt. It may go bad or worse for you.

Honoring the memory of those who had gone before us is a noble tradition that we must keep up as long as we live. We honor their examples by words and in deed no matter who they are. By this, we learn to live in peace with our past, our present, our future, and most of all, to ourselves.


  1. The implications and paralellism should every good-minded person cultivate. In truth, people who lived either good or bad, they were or are not taken as a learning model, instead they become adored or loathed, people do miss the mark of the forerunners' examples.

  2. Thanks, I read it again to refresh myself.