In the past couple of years, the trend of celebrating Halloween has really caught up. Just a few years ago, not many in India knew what is Halloween or how or why it is celebrated. I am sure not many still know that it marks beginning of three-day observance of Allhallowtide – encompassing of All Saints’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints’ Day (All Hallows’) and All Souls’ Day.

Yet, due to increased exposure especially to American pop culture, films, sitcoms and cartoons, most of us know how to celebrate Halloween. This is one festival where religious context takes a back seat, and we all are at our spooky and creative best. For kids, this means challenging parents’ creativity and goading them into making economic yet believable Halloween costumes. The culture of trick or treating thankfully is yet to catch up. But even most schools these days organise Halloween carnivals, just to give children a feel of the entire extravaganza.

But why is Halloween becoming increasingly popular among Indian kids and even adults? Is it just another “western influence” we have enthusiastically embraced?

Now there are many who criticise how enthusiastically the younger generation has taken to celebrating Halloween. Don’t we have enough Indian festivals to celebrate, they ask. Why must we make so much fuss over a Western festival? What does one stand to gain from celebrating it anyways?

Yes, we have plenty of desi festivals, especially around this time of the year, to celebrate. But none of them involves dressing up as spooky creatures. Which is why kids just love Halloween. And why just kids, a lot of adults love celebrating it too, because who wants to give up on an excuse to show off their creativity?

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • The trend of celebrating Halloween has caught up in India, both among children and adults.
  • The new crop of parents, today have grown up watching a lot of western television, we understand why and how it is celebrated.
  • As for kids, any festival which involves dressing and seeking treats was ought to become popular among them.
  • In a life so full of stress why resist a chance to dress up and pretend to be a  Zombie or a magician or a ghost or even a ballerina or a cowboy.

The new crop of parents, who are mostly in their 20s, 30s and 40s today have grown up watching a lot of western television.

Our parents never understood the kind of influence Ross’ Spud-nik costume or Jim Halpert’s 3-Hole-Punch Jim in Halloween special episodes of Friends and The Office, had on us. Or what was such a big deal about movies like Halloween or Urban Legend or Scream. But since we have that context, it is impossible for us to refuse those starry-eyed request of dressing up for Halloween from our kids. Though, it comes with a back-breaking cost, as learned this year when my child celebrated it for the very first time.

Yours truly was up till two last Friday night, because the daughter had declared that she wanted to go dressed as a witch to the Halloween carnival at her school the next day. We had to bring her grandmother on board, who is in-charge of costumes, whenever little one throws any challenge which involves her dressing up. We had to first show grandma what exactly did a traditional western witch looked like, much to her horror.

Most of us know very little about Halloween, agreed. But in life so full of stress why resist a chance to dress up and pretend to be a Zombie or a magician or a ghost or even a ballerina or a cowboy?

It took her a their creativity ?while to get around to why her grand-daughter wanted to dress up like an ugly crooked witch. But she went along anyway and stitched up a black robe for her. In the mean, I exhausted all the neurons of creativity in my brain to craft a wand and witch’s hat out of available household supplies. By the time the ensemble was ready, the grandma was as excited as her granddaughter about celebrating Halloween the next day.

The essence of any festival is how it brings us closer and spreads smiles across our faces, children and adults alike. We know very little about Halloween, agreed. But in life so full of stress why resist a chance to dress up and pretend to be a zombie or a magician or a ghost or even a ballerina or a cowboy? There is more to festivals than just religion, customs and rituals. They come laden with infectious joy and the urge to celebrate. To gorge on delicious food and up our dressing or styling game.

Source: Indian Express

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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