Each holiday season I am faced with considering how much of a certain holiday I want my kids to participate in. I have friends whose involvement in ever-pervasive Halloween, Easter or Christmas American traditions ranges from none at all to full acceptance of every bit of it all– candy, stories that have not much to do with the origins or religion of the holiday, etc.
I guess I end up analyzing things each year for a few different reasons.
Some of it has to do with the fact that these holidays are incredibly secularized… Americanized… materialistic… and have little to do with any religion origins, whereas I have religious Holy Days and holidays that I want to emphasize to my children that do differ from the majority of holidays we celebrate here in the U.S. that are/were determined by Christianity.
If I celebrate something, I want to give respect to the religious tradition is sprang forth from. I’m pretty inclusionary, however, so it doesn’t bother me for my children to participate and learn about the traditions of many different religions– it’s just that the hardest part of that is emphasizing the virtues and Baha’i celebrations when their friends and school overwhelmingly emphasize and celebrate other hoildays.
So part of me feels torn b/c I feel the need to explain to my kids the origin of what we are doing… not just send them off on an Easter egg hunt with no understanding of Christianity or springtime pagan rituals.
But right now it’s Halloween time and I also have do deal with the emphasis of candy and food. And some people think even thinking about not doing it is being way too serious and depriving your kids. But it’s different for people that are either in the food allergy/intolerance world or simply don’t eat fake stuff.
We kind of do trick or treating just because everyone else does and its fun and the kids want to do fun stuff that everyone else will be doing. It’s fun to dress up. It’s certainly fun to get “treats”. I haven’t delved into the All Hallow’s Eve, or Celtic and Pagan traditions with them.
I’m somewhere between wanting to teach my kids the holidays I deem more important and accepting that some things have evolved into American traditions, and we participate in them because of that, not so much because of religious reasons. Certainly fall and harvest and pumpkins and spices are fun to celebrate.
As far as the fact that our kids don’t each gluten, dairy or artificial colors and flavors, they think the Switch Witch is super cool. I don’t know if that evolved in the food allergy world or not (but I’d bet that it did) but my kids totally accept that the Switch Witch switches out the candy that is not good for their bodies with good stuff. I know some people switch it out with toys instead… we’ve done safe candies/treats in much more moderate amounts.
It would be hard for me to not participate in Halloween at all— children are just so adorable all dressed up. And as much as I don’t like a religious holiday being diluted or the fact that all this candy is just such pure artificial GMO’d junk— I like that the kids walk around and see their neighbors. Americans have lost so much community. Fall festivals and traditions can and should be neighborly. That’s what I like about it, so we just work around the food and other objections, I guess!