Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Halloween Fever

A commonly celebrated western annual event is Halloween, an All Saints day celebrated on October 31st day of every year. Many of us have heard stories are read information from Wikipedia or Googled for history etc., of Halloween. This annual celebration is in Western countries like Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and also it’s becoming popular in Australia and New Zealand. This is also known story, but country like Japan which is traditionally following many festivals and cultural activities of Asian countries like China, India etc. is also started celebrating the Halloween festival. I was surprised to see the Halloween pumpkins which are put on sale in every other chain store and specially designated stores near many of the train stations in Tokyo.

The Tokyo is caught with the Halloween Fever I guess, as its become very common scene in the public places; people carrying the Halloween printed bags, key chains with Halloween figures and some times the yellow pumpkins itself. Two days back I was visiting my regular grocery store and found the Halloween pumpkins on the display with discounts etc. Larger number of shops provides discount sale for the Halloween season. Though majority Japanese have following Shinto and Buddhism as their religious the Christianity also very popular here. But getting the statistics on the inter Christian branches are unclear.

Japanese really attracted by the western culture and activities, you can see it by looking at the people here. I was discussing with one of my Japanese friend who is aged about late fifties, and he was telling me that about twenty years back the working women in Japan was really lesser than today’s numbers. Those days it was the man headed family. Used to be women taking care of children and man make the income for the family to survival. He remembered it used to be a wonderful time with lots of happiness in the family [I guess he was a victim]. I feel to compensate the issues like my friend stated; Japanese also started introducing the western festivals like New Year, Christmas, and Halloween etc. But still it’s not clear whether the Japanese shy nature is really being able to accept the westernized cultural activities. It will be way far to reach the kids going to neighbor’s door step asking for Halloween treat.

But what would have really attracted this particular festival being carried by Japanese? It could be an outcome of similar natured festival in Japan called O-bon, which is celebrated to bring the spirits of their ancestors back home. In this festival Japanese wear their traditional Kimono dress and dance with relatives. O-Bon is actually a Sanskrit word [Earlier I mentioned many customs of Japanese referred with Indians and Chinese, see Sanskrit is used in Japanese celebrated festival] and used in Buddhism religion. This is a three day festival celebrated here, however I feel this is what influenced Japanese to adopt Halloween festival. But for the other dressing habitats of westernize are actually due to the fascinated young crowd. You can still see in Japan physical contacts in the public places are not as much as in a western country. In a maximum limit they hold their partners hand in trains and other public areas.

I have also noted few event notifications on the Internet for the Halloween yellow party here inviting the youth to participate in totally western style. Whatever the Japanese have convinced for western change and it’s happening now.

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