The War on Halloween

Sergei_Aksyonov_3486318b

Sergei Aksyonov Photo: REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

It’s that time of year, time for the Russians to take their turn at complaining that Halloween is an evil Western import.

Segei Aksyonov, who has been placed in charge of the Crimean peninsula, which Russia recently snatched from Ukraine, called the holiday “cultural colonisation.”

Meanwhile, a spokes-priest for the Russian Orthodox Church suggests that celebrating Halloween leads to terrorism:

He also regrets that “when our country struggles against global terrorism, some of our citizens, may be jokingly, disguise in evil forces, making their children use to play with evil.”

Obviously, the Russian church is still catching up on clerical education following the end of the USSR. The root meaning of “cosmetic” is not “beauty” but “order,” with a secondary meaning of “ornamentation.” Look it up.

But if you want “cultural colonization,” (and I revert to the American spelling,)  just look here:
russians at McDsI took this photo last month on the Greek island of Corfu. The Russian guided-missile destroyer Smetlivy was in port, and sailors wandered the old town district on shore leave.

And did they end up in the hundreds of perfectly acceptable Greek bars and restaurants? No, they were always at McDonalds.

Look, spend your rubles on a good Corfu sofrito and some Corfu “real ale” and have fun on Halloween, OK?

If, that is, it is possible to feel festive while cruising up and down the Syrian coast.

4 Comments

  1. Pitch313 says:

    Halloween is coming to Russia, no matter how much establishment leaders and organizations rail against it. Halloween has caught on at Russian night clubs among the young folks who enjoy night clubs. Spookiness. Costume play. Music and dance. Witchy or pumpkin-y matryoshka. Church and Kremlin can’t stop it.

    I grew up in a U.S. Navy town surrounded (at that time) by several other navy towns. When ships are in port and sailors loose on the streets, few if any residents care much for the cultures they bear. Sailors’ wallets and a carnival of getting money out of them–that’s the dead-eye aim! (The home town neighborhood that I was forbidden–and fearful–to go as a kid was during WWII world famous as a neon-lit wretched hive of scum, villainy, and soul-eating corruption. Sailors beware! Here be monsters! Hamburglers from Hell!)

    • Chas Clifton says:

      I think that most of the Russian sailors’ problem was that they were 18-year-old conscripts with few euros to spend. There were cash machines here and there, but you need a bank card. I wonder if the reason they seemed so sedate was that they were being heavily managed, of if they just had little money to spend.

      Three hundred sailors are nothing when you have a cruise ship like the MS Queen Elizabeth in port, which it was.

      Finally, the last day, I did see a couple of sailors with lady friends in the street, all carrying bottles of beer. I almost took their picture: sailors acting like sailors!

  2. Medeina Ragana says:

    As someone of Slavic descent, I can tell you the Slavic peoples had their own version of “samhain”, although it was kinda spread out over the year. For example, on approximately October 24, the Poles celebrate Dziady, which is a Feast in memory of the dead. (This was also celebrated during Spring and summer as well. I remember my mother taking me to all the grave sites during these times to tend to the graves of my grandparents and other relatives.)

    I’m sure that prior to the forceable conversion of the Slavic peoples to Christianity, there were other common Northern European pagan festivals that they shared but were forceably supressed, especially by the Russian Orthodox. So the Russians, and especially the Russian Orthodox church, have no business “complaining” that this is a “western import”, when, in fact, it is merely the resurgence of an ancient pan-Northern European/Asian festival coming back into prominence again.