Why I am so scared of Halloween!

by the site’s Founder

 

It is an American holiday that scares me a lot. What if it is mainly for children… Skeletons hang outside the houses; witches stand in the yard ready to scare you away; spiders cover entire walls with their web; so many other imaginative ways are cleverly used to scare you. All of those make their appearance every October in America.

However, that in the US does not scare me at all. Only in Greece! That is not because the spirit of the whole celebration is scary and I am not used to it, but because I disagree with the tendency in many countries to copy everything coming from the US. In America, that holiday is part of the country’s tradition; it is something to which young and old alike look forward every fall. But in Greece (where it has been celebrated in recent years), is there any common sense in that? Of course, it is a beautiful celebration. Of course, Americans living in Greece should be able to celebrate that holiday with each other. But is it right for that celebration to start becoming part of the Greek culture? TV shows refer to it and give information about where you can enjoy that holiday better, about where to go with your children to have a wonderful time.

If you are one of those who celebrate Halloween without thinking twice, maybe you should give it a second thought. Of course, that celebration brings money to the market by purchasing costumes and organizing events. Definitely, children have a good time at such events (although some younger ones can get scared). But should we adopt anything that brings money and fun without a second thought?

Each country’s uniqueness is not because of its natural beauty but mainly of its distinctive culture. If we start borrowing elements of the culture of each country, then soon the time will come when we will not know who we are. We will completely lose our own culture and identity. And it is well known that people who lose their identity are soon lost.

When 2-3 years ago I read that Halloween began to be celebrated in Greece, I thought I did not read correctly. However, I soon realized that I did read correctly and that other also elements of the American culture began to appear in our country, such as “Black Friday.”  At that point, I started to get annoyed and wonder where we are heading. And okay, we are copying (once again) the American culture. Can’t we give at least a Greek name to that day? Should we use the American name? Isn’t there any other way we can think of to make consumers flock to the stores? Are we Greeks so poor in spirit? In America, “Black Friday” is directly connected with Thanksgiving. After that day’s dinner, people flock to the shops for the biggest deals of the year, no matter how late it is. Should we soon start celebrating Thanksgiving in Greece as well, which is exclusively about American history? Isn’t it time for Greeks to start thinking about who we are and where we are going? Actually, not only the Greeks but all the countries that like to copy others’ culture. If we do not pay attention to that, we will soon visit Austria and enjoy a carnival like Rio’s. We will go to the village of Santa Claus in winter and enjoy parades with dragons from the Chinese culture. We will travel to Japan and participate in a carnival such as that of Venice etc.

When I came to New York a few years ago, I enjoyed exploring the city’s different culture and the American culture in general. That was so fascinating. If all countries soon become the same, then the world will certainly not be as beautiful. And if my words here do not convince you, listen to a very personal experience below.

When I moved to New York several years ago, I thought it would be good to distance myself for a while from Greece and anything Greek to get into the new culture faster. That lasted about a whole year. So I stopped doing what I used to do in Greece. I did not watch Greek news often, I did not listen to Greek music, and much more… The result was devastating because I began to experience what is scientifically called “culture shock.” This is a very serious issue that sooner or later is faced by everyone who moves to another country (or city). Sadly, most people do not know what exactly that is. I will discuss that in detail in another article. What matters most for this post is that when I distanced myself from the Greek culture to some degree, I suddenly began feeling strange. I was not well but did not know the reason. It was a never-before-felt feeling that included signs of depression and loss of myself. All that was happening while New York was still attracting me as much as the first days, and while I did not have the slightest problem to worry about. I soon realized that what was happening to me was that I began to lose my identity as a person, as a Greek. I began to forget where I was coming from, what my past was, etc. So if that insidious “confusion” happens so easily in thousands of people who move for a while to another country, let’s imagine what the effects can be on a whole nation when its culture is altered, especially when that is done slowly and insidiously without its citizens realizing it.

So, every time we all happily embrace anything coming from the culture of another country, let us think a bit more before we become part of it. Whether personal or national, our identity is crucial to our mental health and our existence throughout history.

Kosmas Bogiatzis
Website’s founder

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Published: October 16th, 2021 | Last Edited: October 16th, 2021 | THE MAGAZINE | Magazine’s Archive | Category’s Archive Network’s Archive Ελληνικά |


 

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