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The History of Halloween
When the winds of the fall season are in full swing in some parts of the
world, the leaves on the trees begin to turn
colors such as red, orange and yellow. Eventually these leaves fall to the ground
creating a lot of work for the resident but much fun for the children who like
to jump in the pile of leaves. Also during this time of year we see stores
displaying many different types of costumes for sale such as witches, devils, angels, famous people,
workers, and so on. Modest and immodest costumes from these styles are
made for the general public. Extra sections in the stores are dedicated for candy
are given out every year. More horror films are shown on tv, and scary
plots in non-horror tv-shows become common as the end of October approaches. Parents
are laboring hard for the coming holiday as they are getting their kids ready for trick or treat by shopping for
customs or making one of their own.
around in the neighborhoods,
many houses have spooky looking objects such as; skulls, zombies, witches,
ghosts, and other creatures considered to be from the dark side. Haunted
houses are set-up in various parts of a city or town, often times it's used as
family entertainment. As many who are reading this article would know, the outline
description of these certain events point to ever growing popular and money
making holiday known as Halloween. Have you ever wondered where did this holiday come from
and how did it evolve into such a common tradition as we see today? Should
Christians who love the Lord celebrate Halloween? In answer to these
questions we must look at it in basically three parts...First part, it's origin. Halloween
was originally integrated with it's pagan practices into the religious
mainstream by the Roman Catholic Institution. The word itself, "Halloween,"
comes from a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve. November 1, "All Hollows
Day" (or "All Saints Day"), which is a Catholic day of observance in honor of
it's dead saints.
The second part of it's origin, the holiday of Halloween actually first started in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland,
at the end of summer which officially was on October 31. The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en), the Celtic New year. One
story says that, on that day, the disembodied spirits of all those who had died
throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to
possess for the next year. It was believed to be their only hope for the
afterlife. The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during
this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living.
Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed. So on the night of
October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them
cold and undesirable. They would then dress up in all manner of ghoulish
costumes and noisily paraded around the neighborhood, being as destructive as
possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.
Probably a better explanation of why the Celts extinguished their fires was not
to discourage spirit possession, but so that all the Celtic tribes could relight
their fires from a common source, the Druidic fire that was kept burning in the
Middle of Ireland, at Usinach.
Some accounts tell of how the Celts would burn someone at the stake who was
thought to have already been possessed, as sort of a lesson to the spirits.
Other accounts of Celtic history debunk these stories as myth.
The Romans adopted the Celtic practices as their own and practiced them for many
years. But in the first century
AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of some of the other Roman
traditions that took place in October, such as their day to honor Pomona, the
Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which might
explain the origin of our modern tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.
The thrust of the practices also changed over time to become more ritualized. As
belief in spirit possession waned, the practice of dressing up like hobgoblins,
ghosts, and witches took on a more ceremonial role.
The custom of Halloween was finally brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants
fleeing their country's potato famine. At that time, the favorite pranks in New
England included tipping over outhouses and unhinging fence gates.
The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish
Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2,
All Souls Day or sometimes called; Day of the Dead, which is a Romanist holiday, early
Roman Catholics would walk from village to village begging for
"soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul
cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on
behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that
the dead remained in limbo or purgatory for a time after death, and that prayer, even by
strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven. This over all
concept has pagan roots that eventually grew into Catholicism as a doctrine,
which it's not biblical at all. Then there is the Jack-o-lantern custom
with origins coming from Irish folklore. As the tale is told, a man named Jack, who
was notorious as a drunkard and trickster, tricked Satan into climbing a tree.
Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree's trunk, trapping the devil up
the tree. Jack made a deal with the devil that, if he would never tempt him
again, he would promise to let him down the tree.
According to the folk tale, after Jack died, he was denied entrance to Heaven
because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to Hell because he had
tricked the devil. Instead, the devil gave him a single ember to light his way
through the frigid darkness. The ember was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip
to keep it glowing longer.
The Irish used turnips as their "Jack's lanterns" originally. But when the
immigrants came to America, they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful
than turnips. So the Jack-O-Lantern in America was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit
with an ember.
Another definition describing the Jack-o-lantern is a symbol of a dammed soul.
Third and last part, many cults have adopted Halloween as their favorite "holiday,"
for worship practices
such as Wiccans, who look forward to the day with a passion. This day
originally grew out of the rituals of
Celts celebrating a new year, and out of Medieval prayer rituals of Europeans
which was later integrated by the Roman Catholic Institution.
And today, even some churches have Halloween parties or pumpkin carving events
for the kids. No true Christian should adapt this pagan holiday into their own celebration for
the purpose of giving out candy or joining in with the world in celebrating
Nor should Christians take part in pumpkin carving which is a common Halloween
tradition even though they reject the holiday as being pagan. It's very unlikely that Christians would take part in pumpkin
carving if it wasn't for the popularity of Halloween. Darkness cannot be celebrated
nor practiced (mixed in) with the light
in any way. Scriptures are clear on the matter when it comes to pagan practices
not only are we not to believe in these practices but cease from doing them as
well as their understanding of the Lord progresses. God's people ought to be separated from the world in behavior and practice which includes
Halloween and it's customs as the Scriptures below clearly point out...
Jeremiah 10:2; "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not
the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the
heathen are dismayed at them."
Deuteronomy 12:31; "Thou shalt not do so
unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have
they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have
burnt in the fire to their gods."
Deuteronomy 12:32; "What thing soever I command
you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."