Halloween is one of those activities that North American households participate in annually without giving much consideration to its origin. I have seen even Christians participate in this annual event. But, how did it start and, what do some of the symbols and practices really mean? This blog post will provide a brief insight into the genesis of Halloween.
Halloween (also known as All Hallows' Eve) celebration can be traced to an ancient European tradition in an area now known as Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France. The area was occupied by a group of people known as Celtics. One of their traditions is celebrating a harvest festival known as Samhain (pronounced sow-in) which marked the beginning of their New Year on November 1. The night before (Samhain); October 31, the Celtics believed that ghosts of the dead returned to the earth. According to The World Book Encyclopedia, “The Celts believed that the dead could walk among the living at this time [and] the living could visit with the dead.” Because of the presence of these spirits, Celtic priests (Druids) would prophecy about the future. These prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, which people gather around to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic gods. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and would involve Fortune telling (http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween).
Historical documentation indicates that when the Romans conquered the Celts' territory, they combined their own holidays (All Saints Day) with Samhain. When Christianity (Catholicism) spread in the 800s, Pope Boniface IV designated Nov. 1 as All Saints' Day, a day to honor saints and martyrs.
The Halloween costumes bears a resemblance to those worn by Celts wore devilish (ghoulish) costumes to trick the roaming spirits of the dead to mistake them as one of the wandering spirits and leave them alone. Others gave gifts of small sweet treats to the spirits to appease them. In ancient Europe, the Catholic clergy adopted local pagan customs and had their parishioners go from house to house wearing costumes and requesting small gifts: today’s version of trick-or treat (Retrieved from https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/origin-of-halloween/).
The Bible forbids mingling devil worshipping or pagan religious practices with the worship of God. 2 Corinthians 6:17 (KJV) “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the uncleanthing; and I will receive you.” See also Deuteronomy 18: 10 – 12; 1 Corinthians. 10: 20-21 and Colossians. 2: 8 “
Christians should NEVER participate in Halloween activities, neither should their members of their household!