This Has Nothing to Do with Photography

Its a funny thing.


When I was dating my now husband, I was living in Denmark and I...

...can’t remember exactly when it was, maybe around May, but they had this interesting holiday/custom that we don’t have in the States. It involves making a pile of wood, and burning a witch at the stake. Well, it’s not a real witch, just the effigy of a witch. They make a doll or figure of a woman and tie it to a stake and burn it. I asked Simon why and what this is about. He told me that several hundred years ago some priest (or some other religious figure) went around the land and cleansed it of witches by burning them at the stake. This holiday was in celebration of his accomplishment of that. Now I, not having been born and raised in Denmark, thought that that was really twisted and sick, but Simon just said that it was just something that people do. Just an excuse to drink and party. I still couldn’t fathom how people didn’t see that celebrating a guy who killed women, who probably weren’t guilty of anything, was kind of uncool.

Then we moved here to the States. In Denmark they don’t celebrate Halloween, although, I’ve heard that it is just recently something people are starting to do. Simon came here and found it strange and ironic that children walk around dressed as devils and demons and demand candy from their neighbors. Not to mention the house/car egging and toilet papering traditions. He also thought it was kind of strange to see how everybody is dressed up all through the month of October. And noticing all the skeleton and graveyard decorations, mostly he thought it was really kind of sick and twisted that we were “celebrating death, as if there is anything to celebrate about it” as he put it. I think the other reason he especially thought that it was weird that children were dressed up like demons and devils is because in Denmark people from the States (especially when compared to Danes) are considered very religious and very “Christian” and he wasn’t expecting to see Americans doing something like that.

The thing is, in our respective cultures and countries, we grew up around these things so we sort of just accept them as being “normal” or “just something people do”, but it got me thinking. How many things do we do that we just accept as being “normal” or “just something people do” that, if we looked at them through a fresh pair of eyes, we might be repulsed by or even begin to consider kind of sick and twisted?


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