2005-10-30 12:20:00

Alexey Sosedov.
Grandeur and poverty of Halloween

In our rational age, some people feel aroused afresh to archetypes dormant in the collective memory of those times when people lived in myths and myths lived in people. Man painted on rocks thus asserting his perception of the world. But it was not an art; it was not a game.

And now demons, house-spirits, witches appeared. All the evil spirits were descending on the earth. To avoid falling prey to them, people arrayed themselves as frightful as possible in the hope to scare the evil spirits away. This is how it was.

Is there a person in Europe or America or possibly in Russia today who will say: I array myself as a demon and light a candle in a pumpkin to drive away the pestering demons? Hardly so.

Halloween is a play. But is it worth it to try on a costume and come out to the scene? Is it worth it to eat pumpkin in order to share in the ‘mystery’? Is it necessary to appropriate the myths which not only belong to others but are also impossible of being regenerated even in those places where they appeared? Indeed, the clock of history cannot be turned back. It is impossible to bring back that elemental perception of the world, even if we assume that history develops in spiral.

True, some are still nostalgic for the childhood of humanity. But any attempt to return to it ends in disenchantment. Where are those bitniks, the children of flowers? What will await young Tolkienists? All games end where maturing begins. Indeed, any game is part of childhood. Through it we perceive ourselves and the world around us; we rehearse life.

But Halloween is a play at evil. And who said it is a variety of dramatic art, rather than another pop-culture myth provoking interest in some people only because of its appeal to a perpetual theme? One can try to participate in the staging of death, but then there is no guarantee that at some moment the masque will not become a face and the masquerade will not turn into a feast in time of plague. Marry-making about death may turn into tears.

And the Celtic Halloween on the eve of the Catholic Hallowmas is grasped as nothing other than an agony.

Hopefully those who play at it realize that they play. Why do they play at it in the West? You better ask them themselves. Is it necessary to play at it in Russia? No. Because it is time that the attempts to turn the country into buffoonery should be stopped. Understandably, we have a vast territory and a great soul, but in this case it is clearly an excess. It is time that we should respect ourselves and cease to be buffoons.

The more so that there are too many episodes in the history of our country that painfully resemble a play at Halloween.