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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, October 22 2020

Is Halloween harmless?

The Encyclopedia of Religion explains: “Halloween is the name for the eve of Samhain, a celebration marking the beginning of winter as well as the first day of the New Year within the ancient Celtic culture of the British Isles. The time of Samhain consisted of the eve of the feast and the day itself (31 October and 1 November)..."

by Jerold Aust

The article in the Encyclopedia of Religion continues: “On this occasion, it was believed that a gathering of supernatural forces occurred as during no other period of the year. The eve and day of Samhain were characterized as a time when the barriers between the human and supernatural worlds were broken. Other worldly entities, such as the souls of the dead, were able to visit earthly inhabitants, and humans could take the opportunity to penetrate the domains of the gods and supernatural creatures.

Fiery tributes and sacrifices of animals, crops, and possibly human beings were made to appease supernatural powers who controlled the fertility of the land...” (1987, pp. 176-177, “Halloween”).

These celebrations became mixed with Christian celebrations when Nov. 1 was designated as “All Saints Day” or “All Hallows Day.” The night before was observed as “All Hallows Eve” or “Hallow Even” (holy evening), contracted to the name Hallowe’en or Halloween.

The Encyclopedia of Religion goes on to document why pagan practices of the past were ‘christianised’: “Samhain remained a popular festival among the Celtic people throughout the Christianization of Great Britain. The British church attempted to divert this interest in pagan customs by adding a Christian celebration to the calendar on the same date as Samhain. The Christian festival, the Feast of All Saints, commemorates the known and unknown saints of the Christian religion just as Samhain had acknowledged and paid tribute to the Celtic deities” (p. 177).

Thus, a pagan celebration was relabelled as Christian, in spite of God’s warnings in Deuteronomy 12:30 to “Take heed to yourself….that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.” And God cautions us again in Jeremiah 10:2 to “Learn not the way of the heathen” (King James Version).