Halloween is hitting the headlines this year. Now for some, it is because of religious reasons. Halloween has always been hexed right off their calendar.
But for most of us it was/is a night of dressing up in whatever costume we could create. Then grab a pillowcase and race around the neighbourhood shouting "Halloween Apples." Word spread mighty fast about which house was giving out homemade fudge, candy apples, popcorn balls.
It was only when the pillowcase was too heavy to lug anymore that we turned around and made our way home. Then came the sorting of the loot, trading with a sweet brother and hiding a secret stash under the bed for "future reference."
Now, in the name of miserable correctness ("miserable" is my word) Halloween is being stripped of its fun with some schools demanding the children be costumed in black and orange so no one will be "offended."
Really? Well I am offended by their offence. Society seems to be intent of stripping me and those like me of our culture.
Christmas is Christmas, not happy holidays. I have a Christmas tree, not a holiday tree. Remembrance Day is just that, a day to honour and remember the fallen in the wars - not only my great uncle Blake buried in the French hillside - but also the men and women of Afghanistan. It's not a holiday for people to sleep in, drink too much the night before, steal poppy boxes, snivel about their right to wear a white poppy because they want peace not war.
Did they ever pause to think that those men and women for whom we wear the red poppy fought for the sake of peace?
Now we have France and Quebec demanding we not wear symbols of our faith. My Jewish brothers and sisters not wear the Star of David, a kippah? My Muslim sisters not wear the hijab? My Christian brothers and sisters not wear the cross? Secular – from the Latin word secularis which means worldly – is the French communities' battle cry.
That is their world. Not mine.
One of the most personally precious days in the year is coming up for me. And no you secularists, you cannot take it away from me.
True, much of this comes from the Celtic blood that courses through my veins. But this belief is as true to me as the angels who hear the reason for my tears.
This Halloween, eve of All Saints Day is that precious block of hours that allows the veil between the living and the dead to become ever so thin. This time allows a special connection of those who have gone before and beloved saints.
That is the sacred time when I talk to my Gramma. She cared for me in our brief time together as no one else ever did or has.
I had turned four and was living in a Northern Ontario home with foster children. The woman who was head of the home yanked me up the tall hill to the school and enrolled me in Grade One.
Thankfully I did well in school, and no one questioned why I lied and said I had to leave at recess in the morning and afternoon. In truth, no one cared what happened to any of the kids in that foster house.
What I did do when I would leave at recess was to go down to the lake and sit on the big logs and watch the swooping birds, tail-slapping beavers, gliding snakes. Peace.
I knew it would be time to go back to the foster house when the whistle blew for the canning factory at lunch time and at 4 p.m.
Gramma's heart was not good and during the late spring she came to live at the house. I slept in her bed. At night she would curl my hair in rags and then comb them out in the morning. It made me feel cared for, loved. One night in May she cried out and died.
So each All Hallows Eve I light a candle to her and tell her what is happening in my life, my dreams, ask her for guidance and thank her for her love. It is almost as though I can feel her warm arms around me.
All Hallows Eve is mine. So is Halloween. And Remembrance Day. And Christmas. And they belong to everyone else who lives their lives according to this culture. Our culture is being bullied in the name of political correctness.
Time to stand up and say "Back off."
(Lasha Morningstar firstname.lastname@example.org)