There are a variety of historical origins of Halloween (or All Hallows/Saints Eve), from the ancient Celtic Festival of Samhein, which was all about the dead visiting the living, to the pious Christian celebration of those who have gone before us-beginning with fasting and ending with baptisms and high liturgy.
Many Christians have their knickers in a knot on Halloween because of its potential for demonic emphasis. What do you think?
6 thoughts on “Eve of the Holy Day or Pagan Day?”
All-Saint’s eve, for the Orthodox this year was the night of Jun 2, with the feast day on Jun 3…. Don’t worry, we didn’t trick-or-treat then! (All Saints moves with Pascha, and is celebrated the Sunday after Pentecost in the Orthodox tradition, so next year, All Saints is on Jun 22)
I think it all has to do with intent. I used to glory in the dark side of Halloween, but these days I try and keep it low-key and wholesome. I fully support all those who work to keep the positive aspects of the day, such as the dressing up & making believe, the outdoor adventure and excitement and, of course, the feasting on sweets, while banishing the darker elements. This is especially appropriate for the very young, although the occasional ghost or witch costume, these having lost their dark power and shock value long ago in our culture shouldn’t be counted as the same as dressing up like killers or demons.
And yet, even though my own personal practice has changed, I still don’t hold to the idea that one can worship or take the side of evil unintentionally. Even for those who get a kick out of the rebellion against the everyday that is Halloween, few actually go so far as to admire or emulate the forces of darkness beyond playing dress up. Fewer still extend that rebellion into their every day lives. For all but the most disturbed individuals, Halloween does no lasting harm. As for those who are already disturbed, they are going to find ways to act it out, Halloween or no.
My advice is if the dark elements happen to disturb you as a Christian as much as they disturb me, then do your best to encourgage more a wholesome celebration and don’t ruin the fun for anyone, least of all the kids.
PS. I forgot to mention that one of the most wholesome things you can do about Halloween is to inform your kids about the importance of All Saints Day and if possible to attend a service either on the eve or on the day. In this way, the religious observance does not get lost in relation to the originally pagan celebration.
My kids had a blast last night (Will was a pirate, and Carolyn was Hermione Granger) — while they were eating their candy, they were reading Bible verses to each other; they each got a little book of verses at one of the houses. They loved it! I’m sure some other kid’s parents were probably offended, but ah well.
No knotted knickers here! We’ve discussed the relevant churchy origins of the day with the children. Plus, kids being kids, they love to dress up and get candy. And I think it’s one of the only times you ever see who lives in the house up the street, and that can’t be bad. Also, being from the Southwest, there are very interesting cultural overtones of Dia de los Muertos. It’s good to know the past, and also what’s important today. The line I’m uncomfortable with is that we often tell our kids “there’s no such things as ghosts” (or demons, etc) when in fact, there are. But that’s a good discussion for another day, not Halloween. Plus, if you’re a nerdy Latin-studying homeschooler, it’s a good opportunity to study the word origin of Hallow. There’s my two cents.
I love this image, where did you find it?