So, six months from now—in the Northern Hemisphere, mind—there is a two-day traditional holiday comprised of Walpurisnacht on April 30, followed by May Day.
The former is a sort of mini-Hallows: ghosts and scary Visitations. Then May Day itself is joy and lusty celebration.
Why isn’t this end of the year like that? Why don’t we have a happy joyous day followed by a solemn spooky day?
I propose we remedy this situation!
Halloween is what it is: it is jolly death-fun with skulls and bones and blood and dress-up. Candy for kids, parties for adults. A denatured, but still potent Festival of Death.
Hallows comes at the actual midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice, which falls on or near Nov. 7 each year. It is a solemn acknowledgement of death, ancestry, and the passage of what is lost.
I propose a third, celebratory day: LORE DAY, to fall between them.
Lore Day, Nov. 1, is a day for telling the tales of the Departed: the stories they handed down of their exploits and funny moments, their gains and losses. And it is a time for practicing and teaching disciplines that are dying out: brewing mead or dandelion wine, or tatting, or smithy or quilting or weaving or spinning or knapping flints or fletching arrows or driving a stick-shift or I don’t know…developing MySpace pages.
We need not to forget these skills. And we need to remember those who practiced them.
So I commend to you a new Sabbath day: Lore Day. Part of the week-long High Holidays of Hallows.
Tell the tales of grandparents and great-grandparents. And show a young person how to do something that people don’t do much any more. It is how lore has been passed for thousands of years. Surely, we can make a day for it, once a year.