Desi Halloween – a thriving culture among affluent burgers

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A couple of days ago, I left early from office, the weather outside was beautiful and in a fit of euphoria, I called one of my friends for a cup of coffee. We had not met for ages and his workplace is near mine, so I knew he would look forward to the meet up.

But this is what he replied,” Yo old man, I got some shopping to do, you know, Halloween is around the corner and I am taking up the role of the grim reaper!” Before I could express my shock, he hung up.

I was particularly bewildered since this friend of mine had no prior record of gracing new year parties, carnivals etc. In disappointing fashion, I revved my engine and began my journey towards my home. But, just as I crossed the intersection to Defence Library, I saw a placard that read, “Halloween party for 18+ – featuring eerie environment, spooky costumes and grim music. Special discount for daring couples. Join us and reveal your darker side!”

Halloween – A Festival to Forget Differences and Embrace Darkness

As someone who has been living under a rock for so long, I was completely oblivious to such a culture thriving here. A five-minute search on Google brought back results that some of the top restaurants like Avari, Pantry and Lals are even hosting Halloween dinners.

Having opened my eyes in this city, I have always found myself and other Karachites to be living under the constant fear of being judged and maligned. Our freedom has always been contentious, the notion of freedom to us vastly differs from the rest of the world.

In our country, people are beaten in broad daylight for spending time with the opposite sex, spat on for not adhering to the “culture and values” our forefathers left us. Goddamn, we cannot even carry expensive phones with us! In the midst of these restrictions, our youth has started a rebellion of their own – by embracing cultures not passed on by their ancestors.

The occasion of Halloween serves as the perfect outlet for people to get out of their monotonous lifestyle and have a good time. It offers us all to show our darker side! But let us look into how did this festival start and what is the background story.

Halloween – How Did It All Begin?

The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the primitive Celtic festival of ‘Samhain’ when people lit bonfires and wore unusual garsb to ward off unclean spirits. Fast forward to the 8th century and Pope Gregory III assigned November 1 as the day to honor bygone saints and it was not long that All Saints Day started incorporating traditions found in Samhain.

With the passage of time, Halloween has evolved into a party festival which includes activities like trick-or-treat, lighting up jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings etc. The question that is begging to be asked is how could possibly a festival that brings people together, creates a party atmosphere, gives our dopamine a boost be considered harmful for our culture? This is just a no brainer, right?

The Class Conflict in Our Society

Every year, the fundamentalists in our country protest for the ban of festivals like Valentine’s Day, April Fools’ Day and Halloween. Somebody tell them there are bigger issues that need attention than these occasions that give people some form of retreat.

However, my argument is why should only the rich and privileged be entitled to enjoy such events? Why are such occasions not promoted to other socio economical-classes? I lived abroad for a few years, and trust me even the janitors were invited to Halloween bashes! One of them was wearing a Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean costume.

You know what the problem with our society is? We make things exclusive. Events like Halloween and Valentines Day are made exclusive for kids and families from Clifton, Defence and PECHS which is outright repugnant. Such parameters are no better than those set by the religious fanatics. As long as we do not quash these class barriers, I am never becoming a part of any Halloween, my Jason Voohees mask can wait a little longer in the attic!