Apparently some Christians have moved on from the "they're stealing Christmas" whine and are busy with attempts to rid the nation of Halloween. (As long as Christians continue to freak over Christmas being "stolen" while at the same time doing their best to obilerate Halloween, I'm going all out every Halloween; wherever I can, however I can. Stuffy hypocrites.) So, now there's "Jesus Ween" and it doesn't appear to be a joke. Jesus Ween Christian Festival:
JesusWeen is a God-given vision which was born as an answer to the cry of many every October 31st. The dictionary meaning of Ween is to expect, believe or think. We therefore see October 31st as a day to expect a gift of salvation and re-think receiving Jesus.I discovered "Jesus Ween" via a link in an article by Mary Valle: All Candy, No Jesus: Halloween in America. Valle is a bit sympathetic to the idea of Jesus Ween and other like minded Halloween Harvest Fest type observances, like "Trunk or treats" etc. Valle correctly points out that many Christians do participate in Halloween, as long as the Halloween part is removed. As in witches, devils, "evil spirits," etc. Because, cough, they're not "fictional characters." Valle interviews both Christians and pagans/Wiccans for their thoughts on Jesus Ween.
Valle points out that as a culture, we in the States have a huge issue with death: we don't deal:
We Americans don’t like to talk about death or the dead, though, really. Our bodies are disappearing in clouds of ash and our oldish cemeteries crumble, untended. One of my aunts recently offered to send me some old letters and a picture of her parents if I wanted them, and I was thrilled. I told her I don’t actually have a picture of my grandparents. A Catholic brother, Jeffrey Gros, told me that since most English-speaking American Catholics no longer practice the old-world customs, and “since many Protestants have difficulty with Catholic practices around prayer to the saints and prayers for the dead, our practices around All Saints’ and All Souls’ days have drifted in very different directions, leaving more space for the secular, non-religious practices around these festivals: Halloween.”
As one Latina artist said to me once, about "gringos" integrating Dia de los Muertos into their lives: "Oh, we don't mind, it's great! But one thing we really wish you gringos would do: lighten up!"
(hat tip to one of my favorite blogs, Mystic Politics, for the link.)