The Demonic Origins of Halloween and How the Church Has Fought to Redeem It
Halloween is the one time of year where people come to your door looking to receive, and a number of believers take it as an opportunity to share the gospel, often handing out tracts with goodie bags. But where did this dark and creepy holiday begin?
Halloween is essentially a pagan holiday with some very dark roots, and the modernized version of this celebration of evil is still a cause for concern by many Christians. Some say celebrating it in any form opens your family up to evil influences. Read more about that here from an ex-Satanist.
The church launched "All Hallow's Eve" to co-opt the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which means "end of summer." According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, which is what connects the pagan festival to ghosts, witches, goblins, fairies, and demons.
According to Live Science, the tradition of dressing in costumes and trick-or-treating may go back to the practice of "mumming" and "guising" in which people would disguise themselves and go door-to-door asking for food. But others would wear costumes to try and scare off or trick evil spirits into leaving them alone on Samhain.
That holiday took a turn when Christians arrived in the Celtic nations and created "All Saints' Day" and "All Souls' Day" to be celebrated on November 1st and 2nd to try to counter the pagan holiday.
Those days were a time for Christians to commemorate and pray for the souls of believers who had died. In the western Christian practice, the celebrating began at a prayer service on the evening of October 31st on "All Hallow's Eve," known now as Halloween, and ended November 2nd. During this time the poor would visit the houses of wealthier families to receive little pastries called "soul cakes" in exchange for a promise to pray for the family's dead relatives.
Trick or treating didn't start in the US until World War 2, but American kids were known to go out on Thanksgiving and ask for food.
In modern times, Halloween has become the second largest commercial holiday in America. It grosses $8 billion, coming in second place behind Christmas when it comes to sales. Christmas totals more than $700 billion.
Now some churches see Halloween as an opportunity to share the gospel, holding outreaches of various kinds, or simply encouraging Christians to use the opportunity to show the love of Christ with those who come to their doors. Since Halloween is a neighborhood holiday they say it's a great time to be salt and light to your neighbors.
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." - Romans 12:21
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