”It was so close to October that Halloween was knocking at his heart.”
~Barry Eysman, Candles for November
We’ve all seen them, those strange characters that wander our city streets dressed as though they’re on their way to a funeral, or a punk rock show… Or quite possibly both. Their very presence exudes a sort of darkness, steeped in the love of all things morbid, and a seeming love affair with death. Their anthems come from the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Type O Negative, and Bauhaus, bands who seem to be able to perfectly encompass all the things strange. Goth Day encourages us to celebrate these fine fellows, and maybe take a dip into their world ourselves, after all, while the light is lovely, can it not also be blinding?
History of Goth Day
The history of Goth Day stretches back in odd and meandering paths to history. Musically it can be traced back to 1967 when someone referred to the music of the Doors as “Gothic Rock.” This term was soon being bandied about, used to describe music like Velvet Underground’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, and Siouxsie and the Banshee’s described as one of “Goth Rocks Architects”.
But why “Gothic”? It’s an odd term considering that it originally referred to the Visigoths whose claim to fame was sacking Rome. So how did Goths become Goths? Well, we can trace the term back a bit further to 1764, where Horace Walpole wrote a story called “The Castle of Otranto”, granted the subtitled “A Gothic Story” during its second printing. So what is Gothic in this context? It describes a “pleasing sort of horror”, and was seen to be a natural extension of Romantic literature. This, of course, implies a sort of romance with the darker side of life, something that can be said to describe the little blossoms of gloom described at the beginning.
Goth Day celebrates all these souls, and the part of them that celebrates the darkness within us all through music, art, and media.
How To Celebrate Goth Day
Goth Day is a great time to explore the question that plagues those who do not understand the Goth sub-culture. Who are they and what beauty do they find in the dark? Take some time to explore it on your own, research the history of Goth Culture and the songs, music, movies, and literature that are its hallmarks. You won’t be disappointed, and maybe the next time you see these dark souls, you’ll understand just a little of what they see.