What’s the appeal of Halloween? 3 answers

Experts from history, religious studies, and the arts weigh in one the enduring appeal of Halloween.
people in Halloween costumes at party

Why do otherwise busy people make time for Halloween? Is it the candy? The chance to dress up? Or something else entirely?

To better understand Halloween’s appeal, three New York University faculty members with expertise in otherworldly matters suggest answers from their spooky areas of study:

1. A chance to mix it up

“Halloween, a medieval invention possibly with roots in ancient Celtic paganism, was during the Middle Ages quite close to what it would become in the modern holiday,” says Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak, professor of history.

“The world of the dead and living became one, and everything is topsy-turvy for one night. It was a moment of carnival and charivari—of role shifting and cross-dressing—before entering the darkness of winter.

“What I find most interesting is that the momentary cohabitation with the dead could be festive. The dead were expected to visit, so food was left at the door for them. Halloween was reintroduced in the US in the 19th century, late [compared to Europe] because the early settlers of New England, the Puritans, would not practice a holiday so strongly associated with the Church.”

2. Stress relief

“Looking into the darkness but in a safe way is kind of a healthy thing to do,” explains Robert Benevides, distinguished teacher and area head of special FX makeup at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

“It’s like roller coasters. It’s a controlled scare that people know they’re going to survive but they can still kind of embrace it. When people go to haunted houses and scream or get scared, that’s kind of a nice release from their stresses.”

3. Desirable ideas

“The zombie is definitely a whole resurrection trope, but vampires are also about fear of death and longing for immortality,” says Angela Zito, associate professor of anthropology and director of religious studies.”We desire those things and yet when we materialize them as vampires or zombies, we’re actually afraid of them.

“Over [the past] 100 hundred years, as attitudes towards sexuality have changed, vampires have lost the fearful edge and have become celebrated. They have been transformed into an object of beloved longing, from the fearsomeness of Dracula to the gorgeous love story of Twilight. But they have been replaced in our popular imagination by a genuine monster, which is the zombie. There’s nothing nice about zombies.”

Source: NYU

The post What’s the appeal of Halloween? 3 answers appeared first on Futurity.

Interese conexe

Mai multe de la Futurity

Futurity3 min cititeScience & Mathematics
Despite Huge Size, Super Light Planet Is ‘One Of The Puffiest’
The core mass of the giant exoplanet WASP-107b is much lower than what was thought necessary to build up the immense gas envelope surrounding giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn, according to new research. This intriguing discovery suggests that ga
Futurity2 min cititeMedical
COVID-19 Spit Tests Work Just As Well As Nose Swabs
Two new studies confirm the efficiency of saliva testing for COVID-19. The findings could rapidly influence global public health policy for testing strategies. “Previous studies on the performance of saliva tests showed mixed results, but most of the
Futurity3 min cititePsychology
Special Interests Can Ease Anxiety For Kids With Autism
Special interests may benefit social interactions or future employment and educational opportunities for young people with autism, according to new research. When he was in middle school, teachers would give Sam Curran a list of words to type in a co