You can disagree with Halloween in Poland for many reasons. I’m American and I celebrate Halloween in Poland for one reason and one reason only – my children. I didn’t celebrate Halloween here before I had kids and I will probably stop (excluding the occasional jack o’ lantern) when they reach the age that they are “too cool” to celebrate it. I choose to celebrate Halloween with my children here in Poland because I want to share a bit of my childhood with them. We also go with them to the cemetery on November 1st and 2nd. They are Polish children after all. Well, Polish/American.
I have such fond memories of dressing up, bobbing for apples, going trick-or-treating. I went to Catholic School and we had to go to Mass every single morning, but what a fantastic morning it was when our priest conducted Mass dressed up as Dracula. Seriously. We were in awe. Our priest along with the nuns (usually dressed as witches) escorted us each year on a Halloween parade around the neighborhood. It was a lot of fun. I also remember my grandmother’s neighbors who dressed up as Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride of Frankenstein every year. They decorated their front porch with scary decorations and lights and even played scary music. It was great. I want my kids to have some fun Halloween memories too. I don’t want to import Halloween to Poland and insert it into Polish society. We celebrate on a small scale with willing participants only. If it helps, I would gladly remove McDonald’s and Starbucks from Poland if I could. Poland for the Polish ;)
OK, I got a little carried away. Back to Halloween.
You can disagree with Halloween in Poland because it encourages consumption (because candles and wreaths and Sidolux for cleaning graves are all free).
You can disagree with Halloween in Poland because it is cultural colonization from the west (so drop that Happy Meal and put down that Coke).
You can disagree with Halloween in Poland because you think it encourages hooliganism, or you can disagree with Halloween in Poland because you think it is stupid or because masz wszystko w dupie.
That’s fine with me.
But you cannot disagree with Halloween in Poland because it promotes the occult. Because it doesn’t. You cannot send letters home to parents that celebrating Halloween breaks the 1st commandment. Because it doesn’t. You cannot tell kids that carving a pumpkin is a sin. Because it isn’t.
Does Andrzejki promote the occult? It is more mystical than Halloween. Does Karnawal promote the occult? Kids’ karnawal parties look pretty much like Halloween minus the dynia.
And what do you think of this poster? Pretty funny, isn’t it? Or pretty drastic? We had the exact same situation with Rosie. Suddenly, she couldn’t fall asleep at night. We couldn’t leave the room. What was going on? The explanation was surprisingly simple. She’s 4. She goes to pre-school. She is not signed up for Religia but the teachers seem to forget about that and let her in the room during Religia. She’s too little to tune out the Religia teacher. Soooo, we spent one week checking under the bed for “Niewidzialny Jezus”. Thanks Religion Teacher.
If you’d like to “sracz i rzygać jednoczesnie” (as Misiu so eloquently put it), you can read the opinion of Polish bishops on the topic of Halloween.
Here are only two articles but you can easily find more and more.
Here are some more opinions about Halloween w Polsce from the net.
And to push the stereotypes a little further…
One of my students decided to go trick-or-treating with her friends last year. I told them the Halloween trick-or-treating rules.
No costume, no candy.
No destructive tricks.OK, back to my student and her Halloween haul. She got some candy, one swipe with a broom, a few opportunities to do a trick, a few F**K OFFs and 50 zloty. Wow, 50 zloty! At one house, a guy gave her a 50 and asked her to go and buy her a flaszka. Cool.
No trick-or-treating after 9 p.m.
Wear something reflective.
No paper treat bags.
(I had an unfortunate incident as a child when the local pastor who gave out apples –and sometimes dimes- dropped an apple into my treat bag. The apple went all the way through the bag to my feet along with all my candy. The pastor said “Happy Halloween” and closed the door.)
We can only hope ;)