Friday, 26 October 2012
The origin of Halloween or All Hallows Eve is entirely pagan. That is why many call it Devil's Night. It is considered the holiest time of year among Celtic Neopagans and is celebrated on the last day of Autumn or October 31st around the world.
Halloween originally incorporated traditions from pagan fall harvest festivals, especially those of the Celtic Samhain, in that they honored the dead. It is believed that this date is when the Spiritual World is closest to our world. Because of that, magic is strongest during this time, and supernatural things can happen. They also believed that All Hallows Eve is when the souls of the dead returned to revisit their homes.
The traditions we still celebrate today have their roots in pagan rites. Trick-or-treating, for example, came from the pagan dress ritual know as "guising." Huge bonfires were made in ancient traditions to ward off evil spirits, and Jack-o-Lanterns were created to keep ghosts away. Many people watch horror movies and visit haunted houses in celebration of this dark holiday.
My personal feeling is that Christians should not participate in anything that glorifies the Devil or evil at least in the same way that the world does. What I mean by that is I think we can take something like Devil's Night and turn it around and use it for God's glory.
I personally don't think we should go trick-or-treating, but if you have to maybe you could dress up like a Bible character or something. I don't think that there is anything wrong with passing out candy, especially if you do like I do and pass out Christian tracts and Bibles, as long as you are not dressing up like a mass murderer or the headless horseman.
I also don't necessarily think that there is anything wrong with carving a pumpkin. I have even had a Jack-o-Lantern that I made myself that, instead of being scary, had three crosses on it. I also don't think that there is anything wrong with getting together with friends and bobbing for apples, going on a hayride, having a bonfire or watching movies, as long as you are not watching Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Some Christians might disagree with me on this but I think that it may even be ok to watch some of the old G-rated movies like Frankenstein, Dracula, or The Wolfman, but that is my opinion and I know many people have a hard time drawing the lines.
I do know this: everything we do should be glorifying to God, and that means abstaining from all appearances of evil and steering clear of anything that might cause us to sin. Well that is how I see it anyway, so have a cup of hot cider, a caramel apple and go on a long hayride. Enjoy!
Is there more to the history of Halloween? Based on the history of Halloween and its traditions, do you think Christians should participate in Halloween activities? How do we decide which ones are right or wrong for ourselves and our children? Is it okay to participate in the traditions considering their origins, or should we be focused on creating new ways to be involved with Halloween celebrations?