The commercialization of everything continues, as Australia adopts one of the quintessential northern hemisphere traditions.
Is there a great demand, in the midst of spring blossoms and the annual celebration of life epitomized in the north by May Day flowers, for a celebration of death? Aside from the obvious case of Easter, which embraces symbols of both death and springtime, spring is a reason to rejoice for having gotten through the winter and for packing away the skis and pulling out the bicycles.
Halloween is a dark holiday, with spooks and goblins and headless men riding horses. ‘Halloween originated as a “pagan festival celebrating the end of harvest” whereby “the idea of carving turnips was a practice to celebrate the end of season, but also to ward off the spirits that came with that.”‘ Evil spirits and things that jump out at you in the dark.
But days are getting longer and warmer in Australia. The spookiest thing that may jump at you is a shark, while you are enjoying late spring/early summer at the beach. A person has to interrupt their BBQ to greet trick or treaters at the door. Pumpkins are decidedly out of season.
So, Halloween should make no sense. Well, unless you are in the “Hallmark Card” school of marketing. Halloween is the ultimate market-created holiday here. It has been completely commercialized in the north, so now, in a global universe where all products are transferable, it has been brought to the sunny southern hemisphere. Where it makes as much sense as Christmas trees in the Australian equivalent of July, but that is yet another kvetch for another time, soon.
The Australian version of Safeway, Woolworths, reports “Halloween-themed produce is increasing in sales from year to year. We are seeing more and more of our customers embrace Halloween. Given the growing interest we’ve reviewed and extended our range of Halloween themed products to cater for the increasing demand,” Amanda Lunn, Woolworths merchandise manger, told HuffPost Australia.”
One suggestion: We will give you a break on Halloween, if you will replace Cup Day with it. “Melbourne Cup Day is Australia’s best known horse racing event held on the first Tuesday of November every year. It is an annual public holiday in the state of Victoria. This event is popularly dubbed as “the race that stops the nation”.” A day to celebrate the painful exploitation of horses replaced by one that celebrates a headless horseman may be a good trade. Deal?