Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Coyote and Halloween

I was watching a snippet about people complaining about Halloween costumes being offensive.  Well yes, Halloween costumes often are in poor taste.  That's the point  of the holiday: it's a "backwards night."  Most cultures have a time allotted to shenanigans, as a way of blowing off steam.  It's a safety valve.  We need it so that people don't ossify, don't act like jackasses all the time, and get some practice in what boundaries are by backing over them.

Suddenly it occurred to me that tribal cultures have the same thing in a slightly different form.  They have Coyote, or some other Trickster figure, who usually has his own rituals and/or holy days when everything is crazy.  The whole point to Coyote is that he breaks the rules, does offensive and foolish things, and shows everyone what happens  as a result.  Usually it's a big mess.  But occasionally it makes something awesome.  That's the nature of chaos.

These two things are equally true.
Tags: community, ethnic studies, holiday, life lessons
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