Well here we are and it is almost time for Halloween again. Halloween is a funny thing in Australia. Till about 30 years ago it never really existed but then started to take off as an American Holiday and because of all the sweets involved became very popular with Children. But what is, or perhaps even better, what was Halloween all about?
It originally was a religious festival that has now become largely a non-Christian event in practice. Which may indeed be quite appropriate and right. After all it was a pagan religious festival and not Christian in the first place, but built on Celtic pagan festivals.
According to an item on the NET: “By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.”
So that is how Halloween got its beginnings and its name. But what does it mean to you? And is it worth trying to reclaim it’s intended Christian beginnings? Or should we happily let it return to being a simple pagan event?
There is nothing wrong with using existing events or objects and giving them Christian significance. As long as that Christian significance is properly maintained and not allowed to degenerate or disappear completely until one is left with an empty “religious Shell” Like Halloween now seems to be.
What say You though? Should we try and reclaim Halloween for Christian celebrations and remembrance? Or should we in fact allow, if not strongly encourage, its demise? Over to you now.