Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It’s Hallowed Eve: Buenos Dia de Los Muertos

I went down to the St James Infirmary,
Saw my baby there,
Stretched out on a long white table,
So sweet ... so cold ... so fair.

Let her go ... let her go ... God bless her,
Wherever she may be,
She can look this wide world over,
But she’ll never find a sweet man like me.

When I die want you to dress me in straight lace shoes.
I wanna a boxback coat and a Stetson hat,
Put a $20 gold piece on my watch chain,
So the boys’ll know that I’ll be back.
Louis Armstrong, “St. James Infirmary”

It’s Hallowed Eve, also know as All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween, the eve of All Saints Day … or The Feast in Celebration of the Day of the Dead … or, Dia de Los Muertos, as it is known in Mexico, where skulls are considered a symbol of life and regeneration.

  • This celebration of Hallow’ed Eve is rooted in Christianity, since it is on the eve of All Saints Day (Nov. 1), which honors those who have made it to heaven and “attained the beatific vision,” which Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls would like to see some day.
  • The subsequent All Souls Day (Nov. 2) commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been made it to heaven ‘cause they ain’t yet purified and sanctified, ‘n ‘at.
  • Got it? Saints first, Souls to follow. "We ain’t jaggin’ around."
  • Anyway, the celebration of Hallowed Eve dates more than 2,000 years to ancient Ireland and Scotland. The Celts believed their departed family and friends returned home during harvest time to eat and drink before going to heaven. Being harvest time, food was more plentiful, and some was left out in the evening for the souls of The Departed.
  • Beer and booze, however, got drunk – no way was that being left out. No dummies, those Irish and Scots.
  • So, in this way, it was in Ireland and Scotland and England that All Hallow’s Eve became a combination of merriment and prayer; prayer and merriment.
  • Following the break with the Holy See, however, England’s Queen Elizabeth forbade all observances connected with All Souls' Day. Tight-ass, no-fun prude, she was.
  • Still, kids eventually started dressing like ghosts, goblins, witches, etc, to have fun and play along with the notion of the dead returning to their homes. The pranksters would demand treats of neighbors … or, you guessed it, threaten to play some sort mischievous "trick" on them.
Soul, soul, an apple or two,
If you haven't an apple, a pear will do,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for the Man Who made us all.

Trick or Treat!
Halloween is a day for malign computer tricks, too, particularly related to the dissemination of computer viruses. E-mails with subject lines such as "Happy Halloween" and "Dancing Bones" often contain malware with links to Web sites offering users a “fun” executable called, for instance, "halloween.exe," which promises dancing skeletons. How fun! (NOT).

The executable file typically is, a Trojan that will worm its way into your computer, steal your files and steal your face, as The Grateful Dead would have said. Anyway, the best option is to not even open e-mails from sources you don’t know, and avoid launching executables, even if they’re from a friend or relative (who may not know any better).

Just sayin’.