We all like October, especially here in West Houston, where we anticipate that
first whiff of cooler air.
There is also an excitement among children as they anticipate the start of a year-long season of special occasions. It’s fun to listen in on conversations in the hallways at our School.
Some of them are just finding out that among their friends is a great diversity of how, what and if their friends celebrate the same holidays and observances they do.
October observances include Dussehra- Hindu, Yom Kippur and Sukkot -Jewish
(giving thanks for fall harvest), National Indigenous Peoples Day (aka Columbus Day), Birth of Báb -Bahá’í, Diwali -Hindu, Jain and Sikh, and All Hallows Eve, which has been shortened to Halloween.
Druid (Celtic) Celebrations are interesting in that they follow the tradition of what
is called the Wheel of the Year. Their holidays fall into solstices and equinoxes and
the midpoints of each. Very bound to the earth and its relationship to the sun!
Co-incidentally, as celebrations were added by others coming after the ancient
Druid times, the new holidays fell on the same day or nearly the same day as the
Those who are not attached to a particular cultural or religious observance are
innately a part of the cycles of the planet along with everyone else simply by
a shared humanity. We are intensely interested in the weather patterns, the
changes in our outdoors that come with each season and community sharing of
these seasonal celebrations that bring people together. An example of this is the
universal celebration of Harvests, called different things in different countries, but
all including festivals.
Getting More Out of Halloween
So back to Halloween. While thoughts turn to candy and costumes and retail
stores don’t let you forget that there comes a perfect opportunity to use this first
holiday of the school year to launch a conversation with your child. Do some research with your child:
- Does everyone celebrate Halloween?
- What celebrations do they follow?
- What questions do you have about these other festivals/ remembrances/holidays?They may find by asking that there are some people who don’t celebrate anything, even birthdays, so there is another opportunity for discovering the tapestry of
different lives that make a community.
As October flows to November and then December, keep the same questions. It
can be great dinner table conversation. What your child sees, hears and talks
about during his time with friends, will reveal more about what others do and
what other families think is important. Let them know what YOUR family thinks is
important. Your values will help take some of the consumerism out of each
holiday and give your child an anchor that is both abiding and meaningful.
Schools like ours make sure that the free flow of ideas and conversations is allowed to
happen and that students have plenty of resources for answering their questions.
Through our history and cultural studies and timelines, we learn how things came
to be. We learn how people from all different parts of the world observe their important
events. Not all events are festivals and celebrations; some are remembrances. By
revering the past and finding joy in the present, we satisfy that human need to be
connected AND to always have something to look forward to.
We talk about children in this blog, but I can tell you that High School age and
young adults really need these conversations as well. They are entering the big
world and need to be prepared to use their ability to take perspective and see
other people’s views in order to live harmoniously and work productively with
So Happy Month of October, with all its shared stories and good times, to