American Halloween: Enculturation, Myths and Consumer Culture

Proceedings of ‏The 3rd International Academic Conference on Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2021


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American Halloween: Enculturation, Myths and Consumer Culture

Shabnam Yousaf



The cultish festival of Halloween is encultured through mythology and has become a hybrid consumer culture in the American society. Historiographical evidences illustrate that how it was being Christianized in the 9th century CE and transformed a Pagan Northern-European religious tradition from its adaptation to the enculturation process by the early church, to remember the dead in tricking and treating manners. This paper will illuminate the intricate medieval history of Celtic origins of Halloween, etymology of Samhain festival, rites of passages and the religious rituals practicing in America regarding Halloween that how it evolved from paganism to Neo-paganism and hybridized through materialist glorification from mythology to consumer culture. The mid of 19th century witnessed the arrival of Samhain rituals in America with the displacement of Irish population. Presently, this festival is infused with the folk traditions and carnivals. The trajectory penetrates its roots from discourse to practical implications, incorporated in American culture and became materialized. To assess and analyze the concoction of mythology, enculturation into culturally materialized form and developed into a consumer culture, This paper will take the assistance from Marvin Harris ‘Cultural Materialism’, to seek the behavioral and mental superstructure of the American social fabric for operationalizing the connections and to determine the way forward to explore the rhetorical fabricated glorification of consumer culture inculcated through late-capitalism, will be assessed by Theodore Adorno’s theoretical grounds of ‘The Culture Industry’. This article will re-orientate and enlighten the facts and evolving processes practicing in the American society and inquire that how the centuries old mythologies are being encultured and amalgamated with the socio-cultural, religious and economic interests.

Keywords: Halloween, Mythology, Samhain, Paganism, Consumerism, Enculturation, Cult, Folklores, Industrialization, Irish.