Trick or Treat in Logan County
J.D. CHARLES, Staff Writer
Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we mess with seasonal holidays.
A couple of weeks ago, somebody was whizzing and moaning at a Man Town Council meeting about how the city of Logan usually has its July 4 fireworks show on some other day.
Now, the reason is, they can get more fireworks for less, which is why they do it that way. Whether you like it or not, the reality is they do it for a reason.
Then, not 45 minutes later, Kazaam! Somebody decides to move Trick or Treat to another night in Man!
And of course the people griping about Logan's July 4 celebration didn't say a thing.
Somebody said since Halloween actually fell on Friday, Oct. 31, they couldn't celebrate Trick or Treat that night because there was a sports event. And they could not celebrate it on Thursday, Oct. 30, because there was a sports event then too.
Now mind you, not everybody attends sports events.
Discounting professional wrestling, I have not attended a sports event in Logan or anyplace else since the 1990s. And they had to pay me to make me attend that one. And based on what I hear from people who do attend sports events, most of the people there are there because they have a kid or relative on one of the teams.
In a logical world, Trick or Treat should have just been left on Oct. 31 because there will be more people who are not attending the "big game" than will. Friday would probably be a better night for other reasons. Like little kids getting jacked up on candy Friday, who wouldn't have to go to school on Saturday.
In any event, the town fathers decided that since there were sports events on Thursday and Friday, to move Trick or Treat to Wednesday. Some decried this claiming Wednesday is church night. The thing is, just like sports events, the majority of the public doesn't go to church on Wednesday night either.
I used to live behind a church that was lucky if 12 people showed up for Wednesday night services. One of my neighbors worked at Walmart, and she told me where people REALLY are at on Wednesday. They are at Walmart. This is true. Go to Walmart on Wednesday around 7:30 p.m. and the place is packed out. Go outside and look at the parking lot. Then compare the empty parking lots at the many churches you see as you drive home. Whether you are happy about that or not, doesn't matter. It's a fact. It is what it is. In the real world, more people are at Walmart on Wednesday than are at church. In the real world there are more people who don't attend ball games than do.
Personally, I think all holidays need to be left alone. Who would have the temerity to move Thanksgiving or Christmas over a ball game? It's foolish.
A few weeks later, I was having lunch with West Logan Mayor Darren Akers who said he thought his town would be having Trick or Treat on Thursday and wanted to know if Man was still doing it on Wednesday.
Needless to say, a few days after that, I was at Man and the Man Council decided to move Trick or Treat to Thursday because Chapmanville and West Logan were having it on Thursday and because some of the pastors complained. Also, they had found out the Thursday sports event was canceled.
At least Thursday is closer to Halloween than Wednesday was. But the church pews will still be mostly abandoned. Just as half the bleachers will be empty on Friday and most of the county will be at Walmart or the movies.
Some people get bent out of shape every year about Halloween hollering "It's a pagan holiday." The thing is, so is Christmas. Nobody celebrated Christmas until about 600 years after Christ was born. In the end of the sixth century A.D. Pope Gregory had an idea. Because all of those newly converted Christians in Ireland, Scotland, England, France and Germany refused to give up their old pagan holidays, the church would just slap new names on them. Samhaine became All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. Yule/Hogmany became Christmas. Summer Solstice became St. John's Day and so forth. These were all seasonal celebrations and none of them had any Christian connotation at all. Christ was not born on December 25. A pre-Christian sun god named Mitra was.
Samhaine was the Celtic New Year. People would gather their crops and harvest and get ready for the winter. Cattle were culled off and there was a massive feast and celebration. There was nothing "Satanic" about it, because the Druids followed older religions which did not even have a devil figure. All they had was Balor of the Evil Eye, who was a villain and was not worshiped. Our Celtic ancestors believed that on Oct. 31, the veil between our world and the otherworld was thin and that ghosts could travel back and forth. So on Samhaine, they would put out offerings of food for the dead, and would ask Lugh or Dagda for an easy winter and a good new year.
Yule/Hogmany was the end of the winter when the days got longer and they burned yule logs to celebrate that.
What modern fearmongers don't comprehend (besides history) is that there was a reason why people did not give up their old heathen seasonal celebrations. In those days, life was hard and you worked sun up from sun down seven days a week year round except for the holidays like Loughnassad, Samhaine, Beltaine, Yule, etc. On those special days you didn't work. You went to town, you took part in a feast with friends and relatives you might not have seen in awhile and you had a break from the daily monotony of your dreary life. That's the real reason behind those old holidays. All that remains of the original intent of Samhaine is when we put out treats for "ghosts" who go trick or treating.
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