Many of our holidays like Christmas and Halloween are a culmination of various traditions and customs from a melting pot of cultures over the centuries. Many festivals are set around the change of seasons, the movements of the sun and moon to mark the seasons for planting and harvesting like Halloween. Much like anything else, the devil has done his best to pervert our celebrations in an attempt take yet another thing away from us.
The Halloween holiday is commonly thought to have pagan roots, even though the etymology of the word is Christian. Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of its original title “All Hallows’ Evening”), also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the eve before the Western Christian feast of All Hallows. Halloween is also thought to have been heavily influenced by the Christian holy days of All Saints’ Day (also known as Hallowmas, All Hallows, and Hallowtide) and All Souls’ Day. Falling on November 1 and 2 respectively, collectively they were a time for honoring the saints and praying for the recently departed who had yet to reach Heaven.
Traditionally Halloween has not about the devil or witches, but was a Pagan day to remember the dead. Ancient people believed the dead came back to visit (good and bad spirits). The people then did various things to welcome the good and ward off the bad ones. The Catholic Church, in an attempt to refocus these traditions as people converted to Christianity, created All Saints Day. This is a day celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honor of all the saints, known and unknown. Those who have died and are with God watch over those still living, and the saints are held to intercede with God on behalf of the living. The living pray to the saints and remember in intercessory prayers to God all who have died, particularly their deceased relatives and friends.
Samuin meaning “summer’s end”, was the first and the most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Irish and Scottish calendar and, falling on the last day of autumn, it was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months ahead. There was also a sense that this was the time of year when the physical and supernatural worlds were closest and magical things could happen. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on Samhain eve. To ward off these spirits, the Gaels built huge, symbolically regenerative bonfires and invoked the help of the gods through animal and perhaps even human sacrifice.
Culture & Traditions
There are also Pagan traditions rooted in both Christmas and Easter, but we have not given these holidays to the devil. Easter for instance has at least 3 cultural traditions, the Jewish passover, Christianity, and Eostre. Eostre was a German goddess which gave name to Easter and feasts were held in her honor. The fact that Easter also has Pagan roots, has not stopped us from remembering the cross and the resurrection.
NOTE: I am simplifying this, so if you want a more detailed study on this, there are plenty of resources online or at your local library. There are man traditions associated with the various changing of season depending on the culture and time in history, so its difficult to nail some of these holidays to 1 origin.
A Christian Perspective
Have people done sinful things on Halloween and have they used it to worship the devil or practice witch craft? Yes and most likey still do and will in the future. Now I am not saying dress your kids up like devils and witches, or worship spirits, but certainly we can enjoy the holiday as Christians and get a little candy, and be part of our community. Maybe we should take this time to get to know our neighbors, throw a party and enjoy another season God has given us.
I am a Christian, thus I live as a Christian for Jesus, and my heart is for Him. If my neighbor uses his/her computer to watch porn on the internet, it doesn’t mean that my computer is then bad too, it means my neighbor’s heart is not for God; it doesn’t mean that his sins are my sins. God made the Earth, days, months, years and the seasons for us, not the devil. When we decide that a day is the devil’s, what we are really saying is we are afraid of the devil (a bully) and we are letting him take what God has rightfully given to us.
I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
First, yes I know this passage was primarily dealing with food, but earlier in the passage Paul deals with day that people uphold over others as an example of food, so I think the same principal applies here. What Paul is saying here in Romans 14:14 is that if you think something is evil / unclean, then it is evil because you give it life to be evil. Paul makes it clear that NO THING itself is evil or unclean, it is our hearts that makes a thing evil or unclean. Paul was also dealing with various cultures in the church bumping heads and judging each other over which should be kept and were justified in regards to food, festivals, sabbath, circumcision…
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. 16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
The truth is traditions and holidays do not make you justified before God, they do not save you or send you to hell. If we keep that thinking then we deny the power of the cross to save us because we are only justified through the blood of Jesus Christ and not by works or anything we do on our own. Celebrating Christmas no more makes you saved or a Christian, than celebrating Halloween makes you a satan worshipper.
22 The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
I believe that as Christians we to break free from the bonds of religion, live in freedom and confidence in that the power of the cross is enough. We can no longer let the devil win every battle and take away our inheritance, our joy, our festivals, our music, our dances or our freedom. Let us live victorious in Jesus and live our lives for Jesus.