October 2019 Letter

“Halloween’s” Christian Roots:

 

 

 

When you think of October, what comes to mind? For most Americans, Halloween has become synonymous with candy, trick-or-treating, costumes, witches, ghosts, goblins, and Jack-o-Lanterns. But are you aware of the Christian connection to the holiday?

 

The true origins of Halloween lie with the ancient Celtic tribes who lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. For the Celts, November 1 marked the beginning of the new year and the coming of winter. The night before the new year, they celebrated the festival of Samhain, Lord of the Dead. During this festival, Celts believed the souls of the dead—including ghosts, goblins and witches—returned to mingle with the living. In order to scare away the evil spirits, people would wear masks and light bonfires.

 

When the Romans conquered the Celts, they added their own touches to the Samhain festival, such as making centerpieces out of apples and nuts for Pomona, the Roman goddess of the orchards. The Romans also bobbed for apples and drank cider—traditions which may sound familiar to you. But where does the Christian aspect of the holiday come into play?

 

In 835 AD, Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration for all the martyrs (later all saints) from May 13 to November 1. The night before became known as All Hallow’s Even or “holy evening.” Eventually the name was shortened to the current Halloween. On November 1 of every Liturgical Year, the Church celebrates All Saint’s Day.

 

All Saint’s Day celebrates the fellowship of all Christians in the Church Triumphant as well as on earth. The Apostle John describes the Church Triumphant in Revelation 7:9-14, “9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 14 …And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

 

Have a Happy & SAFE “All Hallow’s Even” (Halloween)!

 

Pastor David A. Feddern