Sunday, October 30, 2005

52. Halloween

OK, here is my question: Who exactly celebrates Halloween, and why? Whenever people ask me about Halloween and I refer to it as a Christian holiday, someone always takes offense and tells me it is not a Christian holiday, that it is devil worship, or something like that. OK, so who’s holiday is Halloween, anyway? And what exactly does it celebrate?

It's a pagan holiday that has been coopted by society as a nonreligious holiday. I don't know what it celebrates or commemorates. There is some tie-in between it and Mexico's "Day of the Dead" which celebrates/honors the dead. It's not a Jewish holiday, but that doesn't defaultily make it a Christian one. Like Ramadan.
Per Wikipedia:

The term "Halloween" is derived from Hallowe'en, an old contraction, still retained in Ireland, Scotland and some parts of Canada, of "All Hallow's Eve," so called as it is the evening (or eve) before the feast of All Saints (an important day in the Christian calendar), which used to be called "All Hallows" derived from All Hallowed Souls. In Ireland, the name was Hallow Eve and this name is still used by some older people. Halloween was formerly also sometimes called All Saints' Eve. The holiday was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until it was appropriated by Christian missionaries and given a Christian reinterpretation. In Mexico, All Saint's Day, following Halloween, is the Day of the Dead.

More on the subject (MUCH more) is at
Indeed there are Christians who don't celebrate Halloween because they consider it satanic (or something like that).
Halloween was originally the Celtic festival of Samhain...
The time when the earth passed from summer to winter, when all crops must be harvested and all animals brought in to shelter
On the night of Samhain the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest and spirits walk the land... people left gifts of food (often apples) outside their doors for these wandering souls, probably the origin of Trick or Treat
While the dead wandered freely the living gathered around a fire that had to be kept alight all night. Warriors told tales of their bravery and displayed sticks threaded with the tongues of their foes, probably a gesture to make the living feel brave and to keep the dead from straying too close
I celebrate with a bonfire and apple juice and tell my children tales about long-dead family members posing in sepia coloured pictures so that, for us, on Samhain the dead really do come alive again
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