Halloween Celebrations and Meaning

We celebrate Halloween as a fun event for the whole family; attending events around the community. Parents and children can dress up, play games, trick or treat, or just run around in costumes for a good laugh and to have fun. Oh, what fun we do have!!! As Christians, we do not feel that Halloween threatens the spiritual life of our child. The custom of wearing masks or costumes was started as a way to mock evil, as Christians, evil has no real power over us.

My husband’s German heritage celebrates and views Halloween with its Christian connections to All Saints Day which is November 1st. They meet at the grave of their family and priests go around blessing the graves. My husband couldn’t really tell me why they did this, but from what I have gathered from my German students and others:

Nov. 1st: All Saints day, originally called “All Hallows” (“Hallow” coming from Holy person) is an opportunity for believers to pray and remember all Saints who have “reached the blessed land” Mark 12:26-27; Ephesians 6:18; Hebrews 12:1, Revelation 5:8 Often families will bring candles or lanterns as well as flowers and evergreen boughs to place on the graves. Candles on the burial sites are intended to help illuminate the way to God. In the US, costumes range from traditionally “scary” –witches, mummies, ghosts, and vampires to cute costumes like princesses, superheroes, and the cartoon characters which are popular.

For my child’s other heritage, Scottish and Irish, teaching the ways of the Celtic ancestors is a life lesson in history, culture and current reality. I lived in Scotland and Ireland for several years, and I was able to attend and observe some ways in which they celebrated Halloween or rather the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (Summer’s end). From sundown on Oct. 31st to sundown Nov. 1st, loved ones would honor those who had passed, as the realm between both worlds was thinnest on this night. For this festival, there were bonfires all over where people gathered to dance, sing, drink, play instruments, and just have fun.

In the city centre of Edinburgh, a huge parade followed by an enactment of the winter and summer Gods (Witches’ New Year and the Last Harvest) fighting took place (death of a season). The pictures below are (these pictures will be back up soon), more pictures that I took, from the festival of Samhain in Scotland.

It’s interesting to me how many Europeans assume Halloween to be American when their own, neighboring, European countries are actually the founders of this holiday and celebrating it much more than Americans are celebrating. Americans have just taken the holiday of All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and combined them all into a fun week of secular, community-based, child-friendly events and activities.

Some other facts
In Mexico, people celebrate “Day of the Dead” with picnics at family gravesites as well as leaving food at the graves for their dead relatives.

Oct. 31st: The eve of All Hallows (Hallowe’en) usually for feasting before all Saints Day.

Nov. 2nd: All Souls’ Day is an opportunity for believers to pray for the souls of people who are in Purgatory.

How a Christian holiday and Pagan holiday might have mixed becoming today’s present and worldly celebrated Halloween
Within our own home, we are starting the tradtion of praying for and thanking God for all the known and unknown Saints as well as all our loved ones passed and present. Also, I do feel close with my Scottish/Irish roots, therefore, we love good pranks, costumes, or just a good laugh and fun time.

However, we also pray that our hearts will far outshine our illuminated Jack-O-Lanterns as we celebrate Halloween in good family fun as Christians.

Do you dress up and celebrate Halloween? Do you believe Christians should?

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