31 October 2006

All Hallows' Eve

Halloween (AKA All Souls' Day, Samhain, Allentide, and other names) is not recognized by Filofax, as evidenced by this picture taken from the 2007 Personal diary (it's not in 2006 either). I'm trying to deduce why. Most holidays listed in the Filofax diaries and Information pages are either religious holidays or public holidays (that is, days off from school and work) in one or more large countries. (The following day, Nov. 1, All Saints Day, does appear in the Filofax diary. It's an official holiday in the Catholic and other Christian churches.)

At first, I thought it was because Filofax's British creators considered Halloween an American, commercial holiday, unworthy of recognition. But a little research proved that to be false. Ireland and Mexico get a public holiday for Halloween, although it doesn't always fall on October 31. All Souls' Day is a religious holiday in many traditions, although since it's an "eve" holiday, people can go to school or work that day. An increasing number of countries are joining the Halloween tradition, yet Filofax doesn't mention it even in passing.

I've always been fascinated by the wiccan and pagan Halloween traditions. In my favorite legend, it was the wicca who originated the tradition of dressing in costume for the holiday. But it didn't start out as a way to create a fearful or humorous image. Halloween was the wiccan New Year's Eve, and celebrants would dress as the person they wanted to become in the coming year.

I think that's a great idea.


  1. Whether it's wiccan or pagan or modern day Halloween they are all paths the devil enjoys using to distract and take one's focus off the one true God. All power to Filofax for not recognizing a day that in this day and age has become a day of much evil.

  2. Hi Nan,

    All Soul's day is not a major Christian festival. All Saint's day is. That explains the perceived discrepancy. Halloween is not a religious festival at all neither is it a Bank Holiday or similar in the UK, so it doesn't get a mention.


  3. Good question Nan! I have often wondered why Halloween was excluded in the Filofax layout too, especially considering its European roots.
    One ancient view of Halloween is that it is the night of the year when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, allowing the possibility of the dead to mingle with the living. Costumes were used by the living in order to blend in and not be recognized for fear some would return with ill intentions.
    It's funny how such a simple holiday can stir so many personal feelings. The public schools here in my town won't call it a Halloween party - it's a Harvest Party and the kids are not allowed to wear their costumes. The funny part is that several private Catholic schools allow their students to wear their costumes to school and remain in them all day. Hmmm?
    I too have long been fascinated with ancient Pagan festivals, especially since so many of our modern day holidays were spawned from them.

  4. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, everybody, and sorry if I pushed anybody's buttons. Wasn't my intention.

    To Commenter #3: I wish you had not posted anonymously. I would LOVE to continue this conversation offline with you! Feel free to email me so I can tell you about my own school experience. (nanbarber a gmail)

  5. My thoughts would be that because Halloween isn't a public holiday in a lot of countries (certainly not in the USA, Australia, or New Zealand), Filofax don't note it in their diaries. I'm using the Wo2P Cotton Cream layout this year, and Halloween isn't on there.