“We wonâ€™t be meeting for bible study this Wednesday because we will be celebrating Satanâ€™s holiday.â€ Our class leader was joking around, but his words have been haunting me (pun intended). Is this really a tradition that Christians should participate in?
This is one of those times when Iâ€™m extremely thankful for the internet. Much like the tradition of Christmas is nothing that the celebration started out to be, Halloween is nothing like its original interpretation or purpose(according to most of the sites Iâ€™ve found). The church, the rumors, and the addition of other cultures have molded the celebration beyond its original intent.
Some of what Iâ€™ve been able to find contributes the beginning of Halloween to the Celtic New Years celebration â€œSamhainâ€ that happened to fall on October 31 (at least once). It was not occult â€“ no sacrifices or evil games.
It was the Christian church that actually gave it the name of Halloween (because it fell on the day before the Catholic holiday of All Saints Day – which was moved to November 1st in order to fall within the “pagan” celebrations). The Roman culture added the tradition of bobbing for apples when it conquered Ireland. The ideas and stories are as varied as the sources – some say the Jack-o-lantern goes back to a folk tale while others say it was to ward off the dead spirits.
Iâ€™m still torn. I donâ€™t know if the customs of Halloween are something that I want to teach my children. Then again, I donâ€™t really know the customs.Â The idea that the people use to go around asking for treats for a celebration (and offering wishes of good fortune to those who contributed) doesn’t sound so bad.Â The idea of sending my kids out to “beg” for candy to appease the spirits does not sound so good.
Maybe I should stick with what I know and go from there. Halloween is a big, giant costume party â€“ and we all get candy for our efforts. This year, my kids will just say â€œHappy Halloweenâ€ instead of the traditional chant. It might not make a difference in the big scheme of things, but Iâ€™ll sleep better tonight.