THE ORIGIN OF HALLOWEEN Andy Hollifield 10-31-19
Col 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (KJV)
A pagan religious holiday! That’s right. That is the origin of Halloween. It comes from an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition. Samhain was the actual name of the festival. It runs from October 31-November 1 to welcome in the harvest and also the dark half of the year. Celebrants believe the barriers between the spirit world and the physical world are also broken down at this time allowing interaction between the inhabitants of both worlds. If you remember in 1 Samuel 28 Saul got in trouble with the Lord for that reason. He had secretly hired a woman with a familiar spirit to summon the prophet Samuel from the dead. The festival also involved animal sacrifices, a headless woman named the Lady Gwyn who chased wanderers accompanied by a black pig, a creature called Pukah that could change its shape, and also fairies. Some even believed in headless horsemen who carried their heads riding flame-eyed horses that were a death omen to those who encountered them. A group of hunters known as the Faery Host haunted Samhain and kidnapped people. Then there was the Sluagh who came from the west to enter houses and steal souls. All of this information and more is easily found on the History.com website.
The way the festival got mainstreamed was through the compromise of church leaders, in particular, Pope Boniface in the fifth century. He tried to move it to May 13th to celebrate saints and martyrs but the fire festivals of the early centuries were kept. This was basically an attempt for the Catholic church to appeal to the lost world by allowing the keeping of their rituals. October 31st later became All Hallows Eve or Halloween and contained many pagan practices and was brought to the United States in the 19th century by Irish immigrants that brought their traditions with them.
Trick or treating is also said to be of Irish origin which included putting on costumes and going door to door singing songs to the dead. In the 1980’s Samhain was revived by being embraced by Wicca. The ancient Samhain traditions were kept as well as the fire ceremonies with music and dance called Witches’ balls. There is a lot more I could write but I don’t even like reading this stuff that pertains to the spirit world and pagan worship.
Before anyone decides to stone me, I did participate in Halloween festivities as a kid. As far as we knew then it was just a time to pretend you were something you were not and get a ton of free candy. One of my fondest memories of childhood involves a Halloween party that was thrown by my mom, aunts and uncle, and friends and attended by several cousins and friends. We had the dry ice and a paper skeleton that got jerked out from under a bunch of leaves in the barn and raised to the rafters right as we walked in. At seven or eight years old it scared the daylights out of us.
One of my scariest memories of Halloween involved my Aunt Vicki. She had told me for a few weeks that there was a witch that stayed at night around the building we called the little house. She told me when I came up the sidewalk trick or treating that witch was going to get me. Guess who the witch was. I don’t think I was even in school yet but I looked like a track star getting into the house to Uncle Bud. After all, I didn’t have to be faster than the witch but just faster than my brother Jim. I remember crying and being scared out of several year’s growth (that’s why I’m so short now) but I have been told that I wouldn’t hush until Uncle Bud spanked Aunt Vicki, and I mean for punishment. They still get a good laugh out of it 50 years later and I can still remember how scared I was 50 years later.
The sad part is that now in the modern church, we have started canceling Wednesday night services to give out candy. I can understand giving kids an alternative to the world and the devil but why do we have to do it on prayer meeting night? We have kept a lot of pagan traditions as well. Celebrating the dead and dressing like them just to name a couple.
I enjoyed Halloween as a kid but it was a lot different than it is now. Back then we could roam the entire village and come home with a paper grocery bag full of candy. Even then we were cautious about fruit and opened items but it was only because of stuff on the news from other places in the country. Stuff we thought would never happen here. Now we are in a day when kids can’t even go without parents and now can only go to relatives or people they know fairly well.
I read of a story in Vernon, NY where a mother was going through her 4-year-old kid’s bag of candy and found a sewing needle cleverly hidden inside a piece of licorice that was still in the pack. It had been inserted literally through a pinhole in the end of the pack. For years now, the city of Detroit, Michigan has had to deal with rampant vandalism and multiple arson fires throughout the city. It is so bad that it has come to be called “Hell Night.”
We constantly read about perverts following women and children through local stores and even into public restrooms. It is a regular occurrence to have child abductions and sex trafficking and assaults and murders and now it isn’t far off somewhere else but in our yard. We live in a day when folks no longer have a conscience or place any value on human life much less have a fear of the Lord.
I am not trying to be critical of anyone or mess up any plans you may have. I would, however, encourage you to be vigilant regardless of what activities you may have planned. I wrote once about how that we have come a long way backward in our society and Halloween is just one more example of it. Just like prayer in schools, removal of southern monuments, removal of everything pertaining to God from public property, the murder of unborn babies in the womb, child abuse, assault on females, and a million other things, Halloween has become what we have allowed it to become.
I know this hasn’t been very encouraging but it is very true. The one thing that is encouraging is what Jesus said in Luke 21:2 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”(KJV) It won’t be long until all of this trouble and the devil will be left behind and Jesus will return for those who are watching and waiting and are prepared to meet him. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!