It’s the day before October 31st, a day celebrated in Japan, China, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Bosnia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Russia, Poland, Switzerland, Scotland, England, Canada, and the USA. On that night, kids go from door to door, chanting the well-known words, “Trick-or-treat!” People decorate in the beginning of October with jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, gravestones, and much more.
How did it begin? What are Christians supposed to do on a night like that? What are they really celebrating? Why do churches have trunks-or-treats, fall festivals, and more?
Halloween is based after All Hallows Eve, a holiday celebrated in the catholic church. On October 31st, catholics go and pray to the dead. You may wonder why they would pray to the dead (I always did…) but in the Roman Catholic church, they believe that you have a period after death were you hover between earth and heaven. It is there you have the chance to correct mistakes you have made on earth.
A lot of the ways we celebrate are thought to be from the ancient Celtic festivals. Samhain is one of the main ones, which was celebrated October 31st to November 1st. They celebrated the changing of the year to winter, or the darker half of the year.
During this time, Celtics would bring their cattle to slaughter. They also would have large bonfires and knock door to door in costumes. Why would they wear costumes? They believed during that time it was easier to cross into the ‘other world’. Because of that, spirits and fairies would cross over and they would disguise themselves so the fairies wouldn’t recognize them.
Hmm, that sounds a little like what we do, doesn’t it? Children dress up and go door to door…for what? Candy?
During Samhain, they would exchange food while going door to door, and would whisper verses to each other. Maybe we don’t whisper, but we do say a verse to each other.
So…What do Christians do during this time? We don’t believe in praying to the dead or even worshiping spirits. We worship the One True God, not many spirits. Should we lock our doors and turn off the lights? Should we just give in and give the children candy?
That’s some hard questions. And I hope to answer them…Tomorrow!
The picture above is from here