As a western festival, Halloween has been gradually taking in by Chinese young people. For westerners, the Halloween has deep cultural and traditional meaning. But what does it mean to Chinese? Or we may say, whether it has meaning for Chinese.
There are differences between Chinese and western ghost culture.
China has a long history with ghosts. For many people, these spirits are a very real part of the world and are treated with wary respect and fear. In their opinions, most such apparitions are the spirits of dead ancestors who must be constantly appeased with votive offerings of food, incense and paper money. This is no laughing matter, and tending to the needs of the departed is one of a family’s biggest social responsibilities. The three main traditional ghost festivals in China are Qing Ming Festival in spring, Hungry Ghost Festival in autumn and 1th, October in lunar calendar.
However, in the US, people are more playful with ghosts and superstitions. They treat Halloween as a time of macabre celebration. Children in school make their own crazy costumes and have various contests for which one is most creative, or scariest, or best overall. There is candy and trick-or-treating, of course, and lots of pictures of black cats, witches riding broomsticks, skeletons and jack o’lanterns. Halloween gives permission to be silly, to be terrifying, to be weird, and in fact it rewards people for it. The scary festival can give anyone a safe venue for playing dress-up for a day. People can take on new personalities, and reinvent themselves according to their wildest flight of fancy. They might actually discover something new about their inner spirit that will last the rest of the year.
Some Chinese do believe that it is sheer kick-up-a-fuss for Chinese to celebrate Halloween. Most of them do not believe in Jesus Christ, and neither do they know the context and meaning of this festival. Woship foreign things blindly will just make a laughingstock. Halloween is not one of the Chinese traditional festivals; however, they are highly recommended and over-packaged by some advertisers and merchants. So eventually all we got are various Chinese holiday goods without culture and tradition. It is just a commercial festival without worth, or a kickshaw.
A real festival needs tradition and culture inside it. Like people eat moon cakes on mid-autumn festival in china and eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day. One festival celebrated without inner culture and tradition, is it a real festival?
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