Posts Tagged With: autumn

Breathing in Autumn

Fall is hard to appreciate when you are younger because it always meant going back to school. Now it is the time of harvests, festivals, and the changing of the leaves if your region is so lucky. Dreadfully short, autumn is that transitional season that must be experienced before winter sets in. A few months ago I wrote how Dandelion Wine was a quintessential book of summer. Do any books do the same for autumn?

Sleepy Hollow comes to mind. Maybe partly because stories like this also preface the coming of Halloween, which is nearly smack in the middle of the season (and retailers have been reminding us of its coming since August). Hollow and those of Edgar Allan Poe are very different than what often passes as “horror” these days. Where the modern genre often tries to shock and scare, back in the day it was more psychological and creepy. Rather than being something you soon forgot, they were something to long ponder.

Perhaps the uniqueness of fall is meant to do the same: Remind us to slow down and stop and take look around us. Ponder and prepare.

See what is all around us for the very first time.

P.S. Perhaps you aren’t ready to say goodbye to summer yet. Check out Bradbury’s Farewell Summer.


Categories: Books, Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Hallowmas?

Autumn is often not appreciated when one is a child, because it signaled going back to school. There were a few good things like playing in the falling leaves (if you live in those regions). And, of course, Halloween. What kids don’t like dressing up as superheroes or cartoon characters (or the old standby sheet as a ghost if you’re in a pinch) and collecting candy? The popularity of Halloween waxes and wanes with time and among people, but there’s much history behind it.

Halloween is technically part of Hallowmas, a three day Christian observance consisting of All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints’ Day (All Hallows) and All Souls’ Day. Hallowmas is a time to remember all those who have departed this world. What does “hallow” mean? It’s derived from the Old English word halig, which means saint.

Some object to Halloween because some suspect that it drew from the pagan Samhain, but the connections are debated, other than using the same day. One has to ask, though, what does it matter? Christmas trees and Easter bunnies were reappropriated from nonchristian traditions. Crosses were popular in some pagan religions. In other words, we shouldn’t make the genetic fallacy and judge something on what it once was or what others appropriate to it.

Because secular Halloween can be celebrated in a variety of ways by different people, some Christians have ceased recognizing it altogether. That’s fine, but asserting Halloween is simply a pagan or occultic festivity ignores a few centuries of Christian history (and have we all abandoned Christmas as it has turned into an economic event for businesses?). I have also suspected that some groups perceive the Hallowmas days as Roman Catholic and have as such abandoned them. This too is in error, as many Protestant denominations still recognize these observances. In particular, All Saints Day has been fairly universal in large swaths of Christendom.

Fall festivals have replaced Halloween in other circles. These are actually another universal event among peoples of all beliefs, that reach into history. The last big hurrah before winter, a time to stock up on the summer’s harvest. So if Halloween is not celebrated because pagans do, why not apply that to fall fests? There’s nothing wrong with having such events (fall is the best time to have festivals, in my opinion), but don’t do it on false reasoning. I’ve seen some festivals that try to combine everything and come across as, “We want the kids to be able to do Halloween stuff, but we’ll call it something different.” Fall fests and Halloween are entirely two different things.

Perhaps Christians should reclaim Hallowmas. It’s a sad truth that we often avoid talking about those who have died. Out of a fear of sadness we fail to teach our children about those who came before them. Histories and people lost. It doesn’t have to be that way.

In fact, that’s what Halloween is all about.

Categories: History | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Harvest Season: A Message from the Past

Autumn is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere, but you really can’t appreciate it unless you live somewhere where the leaves are changing. Fall is a great season full of history. It is also the time to spend as much time outside before winter sets in. Sure, winter has its own history and traditions, but halfway through it you are ready for it to be over. Fall, on the other hand, is often way too short.

One of the season’s highlights is the focus on harvest and the related festivals. Yes, we all enjoy these, especially Thanksgiving, though by then it often feels like winter. In the past these events took on great importance as people stocked up for winter and enjoyed the transitional temps while they lasted. But I wonder if people should pay some more attention to the harvest season like they once did.

We are so used to walking into Wal-Mart and buying our food and have no clue where it comes from. Nor do we know what’s in it and we waste it by the ton. What happens if we face a natural or man-made catastrophe? Or even a temporary (few month long) problem with food supplies? And what would people do if they couldn’t get fruit year-round anymore like back in the day?

Maybe people should use this season to learn to be a little more self-reliant. Figure out what they would do if they couldn’t get to the store for a few days. I’m not talking about building bunkers here, but most people would be at a complete loss. Do you have a back-up heat source? Water? Food for a couple days? It’s really common sense, but we have become so pampered we think buying milk, bread and toliet paper is all the survival skills we need.

Our ancestors knew to plan ahead. Their lives depended on it. Sadly, most people today don’t realize that just one small hiccup can change everything.

P.S. If you read the link above about the tons of food we waste, I hope you also conclude that there should be no hungry people in this world. Perhaps this season, as it often has, should be used by everyone to find ways to waste less and share more.

Categories: Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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