Halloween is one of those holidays people either love or hate. I find myself rather neutral about it, although I have been on both sides of spectrum at different points in my life.
Of course as a youngin' the incredible impending sugar rush once every 365 days swirled me into a love relationship with the holiday. I mean what kid doesn't thrive off of excuses to eat unending amounts of candy and dress up as their favorite superhero?
Then I went through my phase of thinking and being told Halloween was of the devil and I wasn't truly a Christian if I participated in any such events. I steered clear of any hints of this pagan holiday and looked down on those who let their children roam free in costumes that glorified evil and practiced glutinous habits of consuming sugar.
My neutrality on the subject has come from a tamed sweet tooth and lesser desire to wear ridiculous costumes as well as clarity in understanding the holiday and the background it actually holds. What I really want to focus on is the misunderstanding of the belief that Halloween is absolutely evil, one I used to hold dearly.
Halloween was originally born out of the Celtic, pagan tradition as a celebration Samhain, which was considered the end of summer. The days following observed the festival of the dead, a time to honor those who had passed in the family and greater community.
This is where our modern day costumes come into play as people would dress up in masks and disguise to ward off the spirits. And those pumpkins we continue to carve? Those would be placed in the window sills as an extra measure of cover up.
Sounds familiar, eh? When Christianity spread to these areas the usual happened in which the pagan celebrations mashed together with Christian ideals and from that a strange mix of a holiday was born.
November 1st became All Saints Day, still widely practiced among Christians worldwide, and the night before, All Hallows' Eve, the modern day equivalent of Halloween.
Now that our mini history lesson it is done it is safe to say that yes Halloween did originally come from pagan beliefs. So we should completely shun the holiday and claim it as evil, right? Wrong. Unless we are willing to say the same about Christmas, Easter, and Groundhog's day I think we need to give a deeper look into our beliefs, celebrations, and ideas of holidays in general.
All of these holidays have roots that lead back to pagan celebrations yet we continue to celebrate each in it's own unique ways. I think what truly matters is what our intent and purpose of celebrating each is.
I choose to remember the birth of Christ and his perfect redeeming work in the world through his death and resurrection on Christmas and Easter rather than celebrating the Roman gods and the seasons of fertility on these days.
Similarly, I choose to celebrate fellowship, fun, and remembering the loyal saints who have gone before us in the faith rather than warding away evil spirits on Halloween.
I have always found it entertainingly sad that Christians who believe this holiday to be so awfully evil continue to inadvertently celebrate it by carving pumpkins with crosses on them, having harvest parties at church, and dressing up as all things innocent as if this is holier and more pure compared to the rest.
Just as I wrote a few weeks back about our Christian lives
, we tend to think distinctively Christian things are better or more holy. However I believe we can seek the Lord in all things and glorify Him in all we do.
So this Halloween I will probably enjoy a piece of candy or two, reflect on the beautiful lives of the saints who have gone before in the Christian faith, and dress up as a burrito and make my way to Chipotle with some of my favorite people. And with that I take my neutral stance on Halloween.
Labels: Autumn, Christianity, faith