Last night the world celebrated Halloween. Let’s start by saying that I struggle to understand what exactly you celebrate. Darkness? The devil? It’s a way to exorcise our fears? I’m not an anthropologist so there I will not express the social implications or the reasons that lead people to dress up in the most extravagant ways and even the origins of the tradition.
Beyond the fact that it was originally an “Irish party” then transplanted to America and then exported around the world, the thing that strikes me is the ease with which we are willing to change our habits, traditions, lifestyles to follow what is basically nothing more than a phenomenon of “belonging to the group.”
To be clear: mine is not a judgment against anyone, but a simple statement of the facts. Everyone is free to live their lives as they see fit, and I will not be the one to make moral judgments.
In any case, Halloween is celebrated also in Japan. When we arrived two weeks ago there were already theme decorations everywhere. A little curious to see how a foreign tradition is translated into a local context, a bit wanting to make some interesting photos, last night we pushed ourselves in the middle of the celebrations to record this event.
The thing that struck me the most was to find myself in the midst of hundreds of masked boys and girls and feel out of place. It seemed carnival but without a joyful tension but instead aggressive and almost dangerous. Surely it’s my brain that likes to make analogies and associations with the event’s atmosphere. But for the first time in Japan I felt unsafe. Almost I regretted being there. Obviously nothing happened, so what remains is just a general feeling.
The nicest thing were some children dressed as strawberries, pumpkins, princesses and fairies, it is impossible not to find them adorables.
Obviously there isn’t the classic “trick or treat” Japanese culture is too imbued with the “I do not want to disturb” it would be unthinkable to do the classic Halloween jokes.
In short, an interesting evening, as always is when you witness an well-known event but in an exotic environment. But with a mix of conflicting feelings.