Reply #49 –
It's the Americans that have been the 'influencer' though.
We only know about it in our country because of American movies and television.
And that's the funny thing.... the older ones of us, 60+, are more 'Americanised' than the young folks realise.
Off the top of my head I can name about half a dozen indigenous Australian tribes.
I can tell you over 30 native American groups.
Our heroes weren't Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth or Burke and Wills...they were Daniel Boone, Davey Crockett, Annie Oakley, Wyatt Earp (brave, courageous and bold), Bat Masterson and Casey Jones (old Redrock and Fireman Wally too).
We played Cowboys and Indians, and there wasn't many of us who didn't have a toy set of those. (they sometimes came in the Corn Flakes.)
That's TV for you, when for most of our youth the shows came mostly from the States.
And now the Halloween push has been very much taken over and driven by the Woolworths, Coles, K Marts, Big W, and the $2 shops.
There has been Halloween stuff in the stores for over a month now.
Yep..the kids are embracing it and it will continue to grow and prosper...and by the time their kids are grown up it will be entrenched as part of the Australian celebratory season.
And the shops will make a lot of money with the scary stuff.
In our local community, folk of Irish heritage are claiming continuous Halloween observance from Samhain to the present. Some are even maintaining that it is an exclusively Irish tradition that was introduced to America in the post potato famine migration. In fact, the Puritans banned Halloween in New England in the 1600s and Samhain/Halloween was and is celebrated across the British Isles. My northern English ancestors carved turnips into jack-o-lanterns.
Celluloid heroes have certainly shaped popular culture and our understanding of historical (and semi-historical) figures. However, the English film and television industries played a significant role in that process with Francis Drake, Robin Hood, King Arthur, Captain Bligh, etc.
Of course, Halloween in its current guise presents a commercial opportunity for small and large business. Without their promotion, Halloween in Australia would have remained a fringe celebration.
Day of the Dead celebrations could also be a factor with Spanish, Italian and Caribbean heritage.