Halloween: To Celebrate or Not to Celebrate?
Every year as fall comes around the corner, thousands of children, teens, and now some adults look forward to the one night they can dress up and be someone other than themselves. October 31st marks the annual Halloween. Houses are decorated, candy is bought, pumpkins are carved, and costumes are picked out, in preparation for a night full of “trick-or treats”. But is the holiday that simple and straightforward? What exactly is Halloween? Is it a night for worshiping the dead and the devil? Or is it a night where its soul purpose is to give kids a fun thing to do, and stay out of trouble for a night? The South Lancaster Academy’s Pioneer recently had a chance to dig down a little deeper and find out the real story behind Halloween.
Around 2,000 years ago, the Celtics who lived in northern France, had a festival every year to commemorate the ending of another year, called Samhain. Unlike most celebrations such as, New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Samhain,was not one of joy and happy times. Back then, winter was the cause of thousands of deaths, both to livestock and to humans, and was not something to look forward to. The Pagan Celtics saw the eve of the new year, October 31, to signify death. On October 31st, which is now known as Halloween, the pagan Celts believed that the wall between the living and dead was opened, and the spirits of the dead were free to roam around . Some of the spirits possessed people, ruined crops, and caused trouble. Other accounts say that the spirits didn’t really come out, but members of the Celtic society just dressed up as dead people for entertainment.
Fast-forwarding a couple hundred of years after the Romans occupied most of the Celtic territory, the Samhain festivities were still celebrated, but as Christianity started to spread complaints of the not so Christianity-like celebrations arose. In response, Pope Gregory IV, moved and changed the festivities and called it All Saint’s Day, to celebrate the dead saints. Another form of All Saint’s Day was created to honor those who were not saints, which was celebrated on November 2nd.
In an act of rebellion,the Celts, who were told to change their festivities, decided to just change the name. Since October 31, was the eve of November 1st, they changed the name to All Hallow’s Eve which was later changed to Halloween. With the name change came added celebrations. What is now known as Jack-O-Lanterns, comes from Celts hollowing out Turnips, garbage and other junk, to light their homes so the people outside could see where they were going.
Jumping forward again, in early United States history, Halloween was not celebrated, since the early settlers were mostly Protestant. Halloween, back then was seen as a celebration for Catholics, Episcopalians and Pagans. As time went on, small parties started to happen on Halloween, where there were fires, costume pageants for kids, dancing, and to celebrating the harvest. As immigration increased, many Irish immigrants came to America, and brought their Halloween traditions with them.
By the twentieth century, Halloween turned into a secular holiday, with costumes, decorations, parties, and trick-or treating. It has evolved into the United States’ second largest commercial holiday.
Many debates as to whether Halloween is okay, especially for Christians, are common today. It is believed that Halloween is a holiday created by the devil himself, and to celebrate death. Some see nothing wrong with trick-or-treating or dressing up, and claim that it only matters where your intentions lie. What do you think? Do you see nothing wrong with Halloween, or do you believe that it absolutely preposterous? Feel free to comment below about your feelings. Just remember to take in account, Colossians 3:17, ” And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”, when making your decision on how to celebrate Halloween.
Posted on November 1, 2012, in Spiritual Life, Top Stories and tagged All Hallow's Eve, All Saint's Day, Catholics, celtics, Colossians 3:17, Episcopalians, Halloween, jack-o-lanterns, November 1. Christianity, October 31, Pagans, Protestan, Romans, trick-or treating, United States. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.