Ask the Pastor 81
What is Halloween?
We might add to this question, and is it dangerous? The name Halloween comes from All-hallowmas which means all saints day celebrated on November 1. The night before, on October 31 was known as All-hallows eve which then became known as Halloween. The celebration originated with the Celts (mostly in Ireland) over 2,000 years ago and was called the festival of Samhain. It was a feast to celebrate the harvest and the end of summer and the beginning of the cold, dark winter. Their new year began on November 1 and Samhain was celebrated on October 31. It was also a time known as when the spirits of the dead were able to re-enter this life from the after-life and thereby communicate with the living. There was feasting, large bon-fires, costumes and games. Some wore costumes to scare away the ghosts of the dead. The apple was considered sacred during this feast. In 40 A.D. the Romans conquered the Celts and had combined together their feasts with that of Samhain. Pope Boniface IV established a festival in memory of all martyrs on May 13, 609 A.D. Pope Gregory III later moved that festival to November 1 with a celebration similar to Samhain on the eve prior, which became all Saints day. This was all a part of the movement of the Roman Church to help other cultures adapt to Christianity by taking their festivals and changing them to “Christian” themes such as all Saints Day rather than a time of ghosts. The dark side of Halloween was to be replaced with the light of Christianity. For children to dress up, have parties and go trick-or-treating can be light-hearted and innocent. The caution for all believers is where there can be a crossing of the line from the light to the darkness of this ancient festival. As in all things, whatever we do, we do with a view toward the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31). The local Church can be pro-active and have their own costume parties with games, food, treats etc. which honor the Lord and His many blessings to us, which includes everlasting life to those who believe on His name.
Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at firstname.lastname@example.org and read the answer here in this article.