Halloween is an ancient ritual, played out on October 31, the old New Year’s Eve. In the English version of these ceremonies, which the Canadian Okanagan inherited, children dress up as lost souls, and are given treats to set them at rest. The new versions are equally complex:
In its eagerness for the big day, he was ready two weeks in advance.
Trick or Treating is about negotiating the territory between the living and the dead, but now there is a new stage in between: the undead. In recent years, the cult of zombies and vampires has skyrocketed in popularity on both sides of the 49th parallel, except among first peoples. The more that artistically-created images replace local ones, the stronger the struggle becomes.
Which is the zombie? The green grass? The brown bunchgrass slope in behind? It depends upon whether you see the world beginning in this land, or the world reclaiming a part of the wilderness.
The fact of the matter: the green grass is a monoculture and can be found anywhere in the world. The brown grass appears only here. Nonetheless, I think they’re both zombie landscapes. Like this:
Malling rootstock apple tree after decades of neglect. The property, at the intersection of Highway 97 and the Coquihalla Connector north of Peachland, is slated for development. These apples represent the relationship between Okanagan culture, Halloween, and the spirits of the land, as well as the current stage of respect held for them.
It seems that the people of the Okanagan Okanogan people create their own ghosts, but are too busy replacing them with vomitting pumpkins to put them to rest.
Go outside tonight. Light a candle in the dark. Look at how fragile it is in the wind. Say a prayer, in any language of prayer you can. Then go in and wait for the sun to rise on a new year.
Tomorrow: Political shenanigans.