Sorry, Jack, but you’re not known “throughout both England and France,” I’m afraid.
It’s so strange to be somewhere that they don’t celebrate Samhain at all. While commercialism is carrying Halloween to Europe from America, even with Disneyland Paris transformed to Halloween Land for the tourists, the French don’t get it. Catholicism has strangled most attempts to spread the holiday, including a massive reaction to Orange’s previous Halloween marketing campaign. (Because they’re “orange,” they felt it was a natural marketing fit and fun, too.) The Frenchman tells me that the Catholic Church played a key role in repressing the campaign through complaints and boycotts because they objected to the emphasis on the supernatural. Orange recinded. They have a very sedate campaign this year that nods to Halloween this season, but nothing like what they attempted before.
The Eve of the dark half of the New Year is here, like it or not. The Night of Nights.
Maybe here in France, where they have everything from the menhirs and tumulus of Carnac to Mont Saint-Michel, they don’t need a night like this. In a place like this, where they have more spooks than cheese wheels, perhaps acknowledging the haints that quietly invade every niche of life is just too frightening. Hence, why they cling so to the Catholic Church.
Don’t believe me? Here’s little article in French about Halloween from our town Aix-en-Provence, reminding the French that the Celtic culture used to be a part of the Gallic culture. Note how the lady in the first post is complaining that “This is not our culture,” that the culture of France is Catholic and that Halloween is a “degradation” of those values — as if All Saints Day came before Samhain. It’s like the Catholic Church is forcing open everyone’s throats to pour in their special Jeebus Kool Aid, saying, “Forget…the…past…” Because, you know, Jeebus is the Reason for Every Season. Right? There were no other seasons before Jeebus. Not to single out Catholicism, though. The invaders always try to wipe out the culture and religious beliefs of the subjugated. It’s worked well here, for sure.
Still, we have plans tonight — special foods, like Halloween Riz and canard, followed by tarot. Today I’m finishing my revisions of “The Last Word.” Soon, my agent and I will begin polishing Mr. Wicker. (Still waiting for G3 news, unfortunately, but we’re hanging in there. One publisher was interested for a bit, but it turned out to not be a right fit. There are yet more to hear from.)
May you all enjoy this Night and the day after, however you spend it!