History of Halloween!

I have recently put some time into wondering why Christian’s celebrate a Pagan Holiday such as Halloween. For that reason I set out on a quest for the answers. What I found astounded me. The way history has unfolded through the years is amazing. The way people have placed merit in some of the wrong places. The following is what I found out. I will never view Halloween the same again.

Back in the times before 43AD the Celtics had Pagan festivals called “Beltane” and “Samhain” (pronounced Sah-ween). “Beltane” was the beginning of summer festival and “Samhain” was their end of summer festival, preparing for the long winter. The Celts believed that during the “Samhain” festival the spiritual world and the human world division between the two worlds became very thin, when hostile supernatural forces were active and ghosts and spirits were free to wander as they wished. They had the fear that the dead would come back and haunt them. The Celts would have their religious priests carry out the rituals in the open air dressed as a dead person or animal. The priests were called Druids, members of pagan orders. Druids would start bonfires where they sacrificed crops, animals, and even humans to the gods to keep the Celts communities from being haunted. During the Festival of Samhain, fires would be lit which would burn all through the winter and sacrifices would be offered to the gods on the fires. This practice of burning humans was stopped around 1600. During this time the children of the village would “beg” the more wealthy of the villagers for food or treats to eat during the long winters.

Now, also back in the times before 43AD, the Romans observed the holiday of Feralia, intended to give rest and peace to the departed. Participants made sacrifices in honor of the dead, offered up prayers for them, and made oblations to them. Another festival the Romans observed was the pagan holiday to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.

When The Romans took over the Celtic land sometime around 43AD the Celts and the Roman festivals became meshed together.

But, as the influence of Christianity spread into Celtic lands, in the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced “All Saints’ Day” to be observed on May 13 with “All Hallows’ Eve” (‘hallow’ means ‘saint’) being on May 12 to start at sun down. This was to be a time to honor saints and martyrs. For Christians, this was an opportunity for remembering before God all the saints who had died and all the dead in the Christian community. Pope Boniface IV’s plan was to replace the pagan festival “Beltane”, which was held on May 1. Remember “Beltane” was a festival the pagan people held to honor their dead at the beginning of summer.

In 834, Gregory III moved “All Saint’s Day” from May 13 to Nov. 1 in an attempt to once again replace a pagan festival “Samhain” their end of summer festival. When Gregory lll moved “All Saint’s Day” to November 1, Oct. 31 thus became All Hallows’ Eve (‘hallow’ means ‘saint’).

Sadly, many of the customs connected with the pagan festivals for the dead have survived to the present.

In 1517, a monk named Martin Luther honored the “Faithful Saints” and “Martyrs” of the past by choosing “All Saints Day Eve” (October 31) as the day to publicly charge the Church hierarchy with abandoning biblical faith. This became known as “Reformation Day,” a fitting celebration of the restoration of the church. The same Biblical Faith held by the saints throughout church history.

So I suppose you would have to ask yourself, what do I choose to celebrate, and how will I celebrate it? If you are dressing up and trick or treating I would say you are celebrating the pagan festivals of their dead.  If you are praying and remembering the Martyrs, Saints, Martin Luther and the Reformation of The Church, then I would say you are in great company,  since that is what I choose to celebrate.

I believe if you give in and follow on the dress tails of the pagan festivals, then you are not practicing what The Bible teaches. The Bible teaches Christians to come out from the world, and not be like the world.

What will you choose this Halloween?

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1 Comment

  1. bigpreacher said,

    October 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Let me see…Hmmm? I choose….JESUS!! Most Excellent write up!! I shared on my FB wall too! Love you!


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