Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is Halloween a pagan holiday?

Putting the Hallow Back in Halloween
By Bethany Hudson

"The air is getting chilly. The leaves are beginning to turn. Pumpkins and Indian corn are cropping up at all the local farms. And Christians across America are beginning to grow uneasy as Hallowe’en approaches. The day of the Great Pumpkin has become an occasion for the Great Debate about whether or not to celebrate this increasingly secularized—and increasingly macabre—holiday. Sometimes though, in the “to dress as a witch or not to dress as a witch” debate, we lose sight of the fact that whether or not we celebrate Hallowe’en in a secular or pseudo-secular manner, we Christians are meant to celebrate it together as a holy vigil!

Many people make the mistake of thinking that Hallowe’en is a pagan holiday. While it is true that many Northern European countries held pagan celebrations on or around October 31st, the holiday of Hallowe’en, or All Hallows Eve, is actually of Christian origin. In the 9th century, Pope Gregory IV moved the Christian feast days of All Saints and All Souls from May to November so that they could be celebrated simultaneously on the first of November. The final night of October became the vigil or Eve of all the Hallows. (Today, All Souls’ Day is celebrated on the 2nd of November as its own holiday.) Since All Hallows’ Eve happened to coincide precisely with Samhain, the Celtic festival of the dead, it was natural for the Celts to incorporate their ancient customs into their celebration of this new holiday which also focused on those who had preceded them in death.

It is natural to want to confront those things, like death, which frighten us most. Hallowe’en gives us ample opportunity to scare and to be scared. Besides, how often do we get the chance to play dress up? And, of course, who doesn’t look forward to the treats of Hallowe’en—the candied apples, toasted pumpkin seeds, doughnuts, caramel corn, and the tons of candy?..." Read the full article here.

1 comment:

  1. Donna, I wrote about this too, but not quite as expertly as she did. Thanks for sharing this. :)


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