Why do we trick or treat

Here in the United States Halloween will be at the end of next month. All the kids and adults will dress up as some type of ghost goblin or monster. The ghosts, goblins and monsters will march down the neighborhood knocking on doors. As the door opens the ghosts, goblins, and monsters will shout trick or treat and then be rewarded with candy from the house. My niece asked about how the tradition got started. I told her that a long time ago kids would dress up as ghosts and go to the farmers house and if the farmer would give the ghost a treat so that they would have a good crop. It was a guess and only half right. It seems that the children dressed as ghosts would knock on the doors and offer to pray for the dead for a treat. Trick or treating had very little to do with the crops. I will have to let my niece know that.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

I still think that IU made a pretty good guess. Crops were and still are a pretty big deal. I mean they keep us alive. Religion was also a pretty big deal and is also arguably a pretty big deal. However with crop domestication and organized religion. Crops and religion are often afterthoughts in modern society. I no longer need to know where my food comes from or what happens to a soul after a person dies. There is the grocery store and church’s for that.

I am all for progress of humanity but I often wonder about the price we pay for the progress. With plant domestication our cities grew and people could focus on other things. There was no longer the need to forage and gather for food. However plant domestication tends to ruin the plants microbiome and the environment where the plant is grown. It can be well argued that plant domestication has peaked and the progress that has been brought through plant domestication is negated by the negative affects of the process. Religion has moved from temples and looking to the stars with questions to studying of texts. I fear that the lack of questions and abundance of “answers” in modern religion has lead to a stale, unforgiving religion that maybe doing more harm to society than help.

I am in no means advocating for a return to the old ways I am however ready to say that we must change and adapt if we plan on surviving as a species. Change is a process and it is part of growth. Just because something was done a certain way does not mean it was the best way. Never stop questioning learning or growing.

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change

Confucius

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