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Profs & Pints: Festivals of the Beyond

October 17, 2021 @ 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM EDT

$12 – $15

Profs and Pints presents: “Festivals of the Beyond,” a look at the roots of Halloween and other celebrations of the dead, with Hans Hummer, professor of history at Wayne State University and award-winning teacher of courses on world history and Medieval Europe.

[ Planet Ant requires proof of vaccine and a mask to enter the building and will be updating its policy as the CDC updates its guidelines.]

Did you ever wish that, like the kids portrayed in Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, you could take a spooky journey through space and time to witness autumnal death rituals?

Well, you brave soul, here’s your big chance.

Profs and Pints, the innovative social enterprise that built a loyal following in several American cities by staging thrilling talks by college professors, debuts in Metro Detroit with a talk that’s sure to rank as one of your favorite treats of the Halloween season. It is teaming up with Hamtramck’s Planet Ant, a nonprofit theatrical venue focused on enriching lives in its community, to offer the first of what it expects to be many scholarly talks offering a smart nightlife alternative to the area’s residents and visitors.

We’ll explore how Halloween and its rituals spring from deeper, universal human anxieties about darkness, decay, and death as summer turns to fall and winter. The stops on our trip will include the Buddhist Ghost Festival in East Asia, when the dead visit the living, the Bon festival of Japan, when people launch paper boats to ferry the spirits back to the world of the dead, and Pitru Paksha in India, when food offerings are made to the ancestors.

Somewhat closer to home, we’ll also get to know Mexico’s Day of the Dead, a Christianized Aztec holiday when families visit the dead and make them offerings of food, and the riotous Haitian Day of the Dead when revelers dress up as the Baron Samedi, the wise-cracking, irreverent Ghede who pokes fun at death.

Focusing on Halloween itself, we’ll look at how the beloved October holiday developed in the British Isles among the Celtic peoples of Scotland and Ireland, who believed that on All Hallows Evening the spirits of the dead, both evil and good, and the mischievous fairies, were most active. We’ll get to know the Celtic, English, Jewish, Eastern European, and Native American begging traditions that shaped the practices of trick-or-treating. Lastly, we will examine at the taming of Halloween in America, which was provoked by the social stresses of the Great Depression when moral scolds inveighed against the hooliganism of this most subversive of holidays.

It’s a night that will be more delicious than any fun-sized candy bar. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in. Comments, questions and concerns about Planet Ant’s health and safety policies can be directed to andy@planetant.com )


October 17, 2021
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM EDT
$12 – $15


Profs and Pints
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Ant Hall- Planet Ant
2320 Caniff St.
Hamtramck, Michigan 48212 United States
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