Some people just LOVE Halloween…you know who they are: you walk through your neighborhood and they have every imaginable Halloween decoration planted on their lawn. They’re also the ones that go all out on Halloween costumes. I personally love, Love, LOVE the decorations and costumes, but as a Christian I’ve witnessed this holiday receiving a major beat-down over the years. Christians attack the holiday and proclaim it as “the devil’s holiday”. I never researched whether or not this is actually true…until now.
If you’ve been sitting on the fence about whether or not to celebrate this holiday, or if you’ve been swept up into conservative Christian ideas without ever actually verifying whether or not the accusations against Halloween are true, now is your chance to read more about it so that you can make an informative decision.
Halloween has a lot of names, which is probably a result of time passing and traditions morphing. Some of it’s aliases include: “All Hallow’s Evening”, “Allhalloween”, “All Hallow’s Eve”, and “All Saint’s Eve”. Whew! Let’s break this down. “Hallow” means, “to make holy; sanctify; consecrate.” It also means, “to honor as holy; consider sacred; venerate”. “To honor as holy” doesn’t sound devilish to me, but let’s keep digging.
Interestingly, Wiki informs us that some scholars believe that Halloween was a Christian -created holiday! However, the general consensus seems to be that Christians actually adapted Celtic Harvest festivals to Halloween feasts. The Harvest festivals were celebrated with food centered around crops that were reaped at that time of year. Specifically, the Celtic tradition in question was probably Samhain, a festival for marking the end of the harvest season. There are certainly pagan rituals and beliefs mired within the Samhain celebration, however these did not carry over into the Christian All Saint’s Day/All Hallow’s Eve tradition.
And I believe this is where we see the division of Christian beliefs. Should we celebrate this holiday or denounce it?
The Puritans of New England were absolutely opposed to Halloween…and Easter…and Christmas. An article written by Cassandra Niemczyk informs us that, “American Puritans did not celebrate religious holidays such as Easter or Christmas. The weekly “Lord’s Day” was celebration enough.” However, the Anglican colonists of this same time period would recognize All Hallow’s Eve as a religious holiday.
In our next segment, we will divert our attention to how Christians then and now celebrate Halloween. After all, wearing masks and bobbing for apples seems to be a long way off from celebrating a fruitful harvest–which sounds more like an American Thanksgiving tradition.
CJ Heath is currently a lover of Halloween. As she researches for this article, she will do her best to keep an open mind regarding celebrating the holiday and whether or not this is soul-damnation worthy.