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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 vibrant bright 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 products which 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. 




While riding 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 darkness. 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."



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