Merry Hallowmas

When we let our holidays bunch up, they lose their special power

"A perpetual Holiday," George Bernard Shaw said, "is a good working definition of hell." This year the perennial ruckus over little girls' slutty Halloween costumes was still going strong even as the perennial ruckus over the War on Christmas began. It's as though we've supersized our holidays, so that they start sooner, last longer and cost more, until the calendar pages pull and tear, and we don't know which one we are meant to be celebrating.

Seasons once had a rhythm to them, tuned to the harvest or the hunt, with rituals spaced through the year to bring the rain, praise the...

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