Halloween and history


Karen Kunawicz

Octobers always have meanings to me. During childhood, it was a time for the rosary to be recited in school every single day. Do they still do that?

As I grew older, I realized that there was always something somber and haunting about this month, but October also promised lots of fun. The culmination of it all was Halloween—running around in a costume and getting free candy. Does it get any better?

Unfortunately, it seems I have to raise the flag for Halloween every so often. In September, Christmas carols are played in the mall and there’s a countdown by the entrance of how many days to Christmas. Radio stations do this too, ad nauseum.

For me, Christmas in the Philippines means seeing the glittery prom queen taking attention away from smart, cool, geeky goth chick.

As such, here is my list of why Halloween is better than Christmas:

1 and 2: Free candy and costumes! Top that.

3. Christmas in the Philippines is incredibly unkind to the carbon footprint. People buy gifts for the sake of buying them, prodded on by the carols, and these forced gifts can often end up as trash (did the recipient really want or need that additional mug, polo shirt or Christian calendar?) Then there are the massive electricity bills and the extra horrendous traffic on top of the regularly horrific traffic.

4. On Halloween, no one forces you how to feel. If you feel like putting on a costume, going out with friends and looking for popcorn, chocolate or pizza that’s great. If you want to have a cup of spiced tea and watch a scary movie (or not), that is perfectly cool too and that’s keeping with tradition as well.

5. Stress is a byproduct of Christmas; cool costume photos and people goofing off is a byproduct of Halloween.

If I had to personify holidays, I would say, “You are overlooked here, Halloween, but I love you.”

Also, “it’s not your fault, Christmas, people are just doing you wrong.”

On the eve of October, I attended one of the lectures in Ambeth Ocampo’s “History Comes Alive” series for 2017. It’s great to know he packs a full house and still gets people in even if it’s standing room only. His first lecture was called “Rizal Nanaman,” I attended the one on the “Marcos Diaries”. There are two left: “Philippine Maps: Labels and Boundaries,” on October 28 and “Fake News: How to Get Away With Murder,” on November 11.

History and current events can be just as compelling as anything “Star Wars” or “Game of Thrones” can offer us, it matters a lot who is, “dropping that knowledge.”


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