It’s not the candy I mind, it’s the pumpkins. Same for Easter. Cheap chocolate is one thing, but eggs in mid Autumn!
This photo is from May. Every gardener reading this knows, pumpkins this time of year have to come from a long, long way away. I think Coles is getting theirs from Broome. Imagine transporting great heavy pumpkins across the country.
I’m a grinch, I know, but Halloween is a harvest festival people! It belongs in late autumn, not late spring. It celebrates the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter. That time of year, every garden has such an excess of pumpkins that it is not wasteful to carve them into lanterns. Leaves fall from trees, grass stops growing, animals hibernate, and thoughts turn to awareness of death as part of the cycle of life, and remembering. There were three harvest festivals in autumn in the pagan calendar, and indeed in the calendars of most cultures where people remember their mortality. Thankfulness for the bountifulness of the earth, thankfulness for the support and strength of the tribe, thankfulness for the wisdom of the ancestors.
This time of year in the Southern Hemisphere it is Beltane, May Day, dancing round a maypole and parades in the street. Beltane is a festival that celebrates the season of sun and sensuality, energy and freedom, music and dancing and falling in love, summer holidays on the near horizon. There are three spring festivals too, welcoming new beginnings, celebrating babies and children and life renewing, and enjoying living in our skin in the balmy days of summer.
OK, so we have cultural drift, and we’re not so connected to the seasons that we feel the affront of pumpkins in spring. But can we do a little bit of reinvention? Dressing up is very Beltane (especially as it tends towards the burlesque), but I can connect Princess Leia or the Incredible Hulk to Beltane easily. Street parties and pool parties and water fights and icecream, parades and costumes and dancing and music. Just no pumpkins, pretty please?