Is Halloween Really the Evil Holiday that People Think it is?

I have heard it all the time growing up, as most Christian children nowadays have: Halloween is “Satan’s holiday”.  Well, sorry if you believe this, but that belief isn’t quite true.   The name itself is an indication of that.  The name Halloween is a variation on what the holiday is sometimes called and actually means “holy evening”.  Yep.  Halloween “Satan’s holiday” is actually similar to celebrations on Christmas Eve in that it is the day before a major Christian holiday.  The name Halloween comes from the Scottish name for the holiday; that name being All Hallows’ Even.  This came into English as All Hallows’ Eve and was eventually shortened to Halloween.  The holiday that falls the day after is All Hallows’ Day or All Saints’ Day.  This holiday is the feast of all those who are considered Saints, whether or not they have their own feast day or not.  Hmm… Well, there doesn’t seem to be anything Satanic or evil about a feast commemorating the Christian Saints or the evening before that.

Now, some people will cite that the dressing up is the evil part of the holiday.  Also, not really true.  The dressing up was originally used as a way of confusing and sometimes even scaring away the evil spirits.  That is even true in the traditions of Samhain.  Even if you are thinking that Samhain is an evil holiday with its origins in Pagan traditions, this isn’t quite true either.  Samhain is actually the autumn harvest festival.  That festival is in line with the three other Celtic seasonal festivals of Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh.  Dressing up to go Trick-or-Treating isn’t really evil either.  The original purpose of going door to door gathering treats was for collecting soul cakes.  These soul cakes were to honour the departed souls, not only of family, but for all those faithful to the Christian faith.  The day that honours those souls falls on the day after All Hallows’ Day, the first day in November, and is called All Souls’ Day.

The holidays just so happen to fall on what was traditionally Samhain.  So, what makes people think that the holiday is inherently evil or Satanic?  Quite simply, it is the fact that the day falls on the first day of that Pagan holiday.  People seem to forget that Christmas also happens to fall on an old Pagan holiday.  That Pagan holiday being Saturnalia which honoured the the Roman time deity Saturn.  Saturnalia was one of the biggest holidays in the Roman Pagan calender and it makes sense to put the holiday celebrating Jesus’s birth on that day because it was such a widely practiced holiday even though, based upon what it says in the Bible, Jesus was probably born in either March or April.  The truth is that when Christianity was trying to spread they found that they had an easier time converting the non-believers if the major festivals and feast days fell on or around days that were already being used by the Pagans.  Autumn is the time when things start dying and the fruit bearing plants are at their final harvest time.  As such, the season became associated with death in the same way that spring is associated with rebirth and new life.  It makes sense to have your feast days honouring the departed Saints and souls around the autumn festivals.  

I am not a parent yet, unless you count my kitty child, but I would take my kids trick-or-treating if they wanted to.  I have no problem with the holiday.  The people that I find have the big issues with it are not educated on what the holiday actually celebrates.  None of my Catholic family and friends have the issues with the holiday that my Baptist friends and family have.  Actually, now that I think about it, the only people that I have met that have an issue with the holiday are Baptists…hmm… Not quite sure what that says about the denomination that I belong to.  Anyway, Halloween was originally a Christian holiday, not a Pagan holiday.  Samhain was a Pagan harvest festival, but not really an evil day.  Learn about the holidays that you celebrate!  You will probably be surprised by how much you don’t know until you do.