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Bradford-on-Avon, England
Now that Halloween has been taken over by merchandisers as a commercial festival and we have to endure children and others in cute Tesco witch masks going around begging from house to house, is it too late to rescue this ancient celebration?

I think the trouble started with the Church trying to sanitise it out of existence. All Saints day in my church scarcely differed from any other Sunday. The whole thing became conflated with Remembrance Day, which doubled as the Glorification of War Day, so that any vestige of its real meaning got forgotten.

Halloween is one of the quarter days of the pagan (or peasant) year. It marked the mid-Autumn point as the season turns to face the coming Winter. According to my reading it was marked by family get-togethers around the fire where the elders told stories of their lives and those of their parents and ancestors, and pondered on the mysteries of life and death. Like the other quarter days, it nurtured a relationship between the seasons and peoples lives, which would have been natural for people living on the land.

In my opinion it is our great loss that we have lost this link. I suggest that liberal Christians and others get together with their families and close friends this week and sit round a fire and tell stories, and muse about life and death, the seen and the unseen, our landscape and history. Any
I'm all for that.

One of the tragedies of Modernism is the stripping away of all the rites of passage that mark a life - I do think we're all somewhat 'at a loss' without them ... the cult of the supremacy of the individual has robbed us of our sense of place in society.

In the Catholic Tradition, of course, all the angels and the saints are present at the Celebration of the Mass, every time ... but we remember them especially tomorrow (All Saints) and all the dead the day after (All Souls) - a mass for the dead.