October 20, 2007

The Origin of Halloween


Where and when did Halloween customs originate?

The many customs we have today in relation to Halloween have their origins in the religious practices of the Romans and the Druids, therefore dating back many centuries. The Romans worshiped various gods and on October 31, a special feast was held in honor of Pomona, goddess of the fruit trees. Later, the Druids, an ancient order of Celtic priests in Britain, made this feast an even more extensive celebration by also honoring Samhain, lord of the dead. This was normally done on November 1 and it was therefore decided to conveniently honor both Pomona and Samhain on October 31 and November 1.

These Druids believed that on the night before November 1 (October 31) Samhain called together wicked souls or spirits which had been condemned to live in the bodies of animals during the year which had just transpired. Since they were afraid of these spirits, they chose October 31 as a day to sacrifice to their gods, hoping they would protect them. They really believed that on this day they were surrounded by strange spirits, ghosts, witches, fairies, and elves, who came out to hurt them. In addition to this, they also believed that cats were holy animals, as they considered them to represent people who lived formerly, and as punishment for evil deeds were reincarnated as a cat. All this explains why witches, ghosts, and cats are a part of Halloween today.

The custom of trick-or-treating and the use of "jack-o'-lanterns" come from Ireland. Hundreds of years ago, Irish farmers went from house to house, begging for food, in the name of their ancient gods, to be used at the village Halloween celebration. They would promise good luck to those who gave them good, and made threats to those who refused to give. They simply told the people, "You treat me, or else I will trick you!"

The apparently harmless lightened pumpkin face or "jack-o'-lantern" actually is an old Irish symbol of damned soul. A man named Jack was unable to enter heaven due to his miserliness, and unable to enter hell because he had played practice jokes on the devil. As a result, he was condemned to wander over the earth with his lantern until judgment day (i.e., the end of the world). The Irish were so afraid that they would receive an identical plight, they began to hollow out pumpkins and place lighted candles inside to scare away evil spirits from their home.

When did the modern Halloween celebration begin?

During the Middle Ages (about 600 years ago), the Roman Catholic Church decided to make the change-over from pagan religion to Christianity a bit easier, and therefore allowed the new converts to maintain some of their pagan feasts. It was agreed, however, that from now on they would be celebrated as "Christian" feasts. So instead of praying to their heathen gods, they would now pray to, and remember the deaths of saints. For this reason the church decided to call November 1 the "Day of All Saints," and the mass to be celebrated on that day "Alhallowmass." In consequence of this, the evening prior to this day was named, "All Hallowed Evening" which subsequently was abbreviated as "Halloween." In spite of this effort to make October 31 a "holy evening," all the old customs continued to be practiced and made this evening anything BUT a holy evening!

Halloween today.

You would have to agree that today Halloween is most definitely not a holy evening! This annual event is far from the harmless, innocent tradition it is promoted to be. Many dread this "holy" evening as they think what could happen to them, their property, and/or their children! Consistent with its historical roots, this evening is characterized by fear and frequently arouses dormant fears in many. The fear generated by this event is symbolic of the fear which plagues so many in our modern, morally bankrupt world. It is a gripping fear for an unknown and very threatening future, a fear caused by a gnawing inner emptiness.

And there is NOTHING "cute" about witches and devils. Christians are losing the minds of their children by foolishly opening the gates to the enemy (through TV, movies, public education, pagan/Catholic holidays such as Halloween, etc.). Witchcraft is no longer cute and funny; it never was, but it especially is not cute in this late day, as thousands of teenagers are taking it seriously. Paul warns Christians that those who flirt with witchcraft will be excluded from the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:20).

The ancient Druids were the "priests" of the Celtic religion. The Druid priests practiced horrible, mass human sacrifices on Halloween (although some modern pagans attempt to deny this fact, at least in public). Tacitus (the Roman historian) confirms this fact. The feast of Samhain (pronounced "sow-win") was the feast of the dead. At this time, as we have seen, it was believed that the veil between the living and the dead (i.e. spirit world) was at its thinnest. The veil between the spirit world and the living may indeed be at its thinnest at this time - not just on Halloween, but during this whole final age. However, it is not DEAD people, but DEVILS who are close at hand, ready for "communion" (1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 3:8). How long will it be before these devils once AGAIN (as with the Druids of old) begin to move mankind to practice the human sacrifices the Bible predicts will intoxicate Rome (Revelation 17:6)?

Should Christians hold similar 'alternatives' on Halloween?

Christians should not hold similar "alternatives" on Halloween but hit the streets and confront the world with strong preaching or they should gather together for fervent prayer. Should such a night be an evening for fun, games, and "mock" divination for discerning Christians? Is there not a cause? Can we not rejoice in Christ in fellowship, spiritual songs, soul winning, and prayer, or must we imitate the joy of pagans and Catholics? What does it teach children when we train them that they must always have a "Christian" imitation of pagan fun? Will not many children soon realize that the world can "out-do" the Christian on pagan ground? Children enjoy holy fun and recreation but attempting to "Christianize" divination is wrong. There are many who teach that there is merit in attracting children to churches, away from a dangerous environment. Yet, many churches have become increasingly pagan and grotesque every year to attract the kids (who have been raised on horror movies with millions of dollars of special effects). "Hell houses" with rape, murder, suicide, blood and violence, acted out, etc. are sadly, becoming increasingly common in churches on Halloween. The point is that Halloween is a pagan and Roman Catholic festival. Fundamental Christians should not have witches and skeletons on their doors.

How do we find forgiveness and peace today?

In the Bible ALONE will you find the ONLY answer to the deep yearning of your heart. ONLY when God becomes your God through Jesus Christ, you will find rest at last and you will answer to the true purpose of human existence, namely, to honor, serve, and enjoy our Creator.

Is the God of heaven and earth YOUR God? If not, seek Him TODAY, while He still may be found.

In the end, our only hope is Jesus Christ because ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved because whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

God, manifested in Jesus Christ, invites you to Himself in His Word. Turn to the gospel of Matthew and read chapter 11:28:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest!"

Those who insist on seeking inner peace without being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ will have to endure eternal misery without God. God does not desire the eternal misery of man and therefore He also extends this invitation in Ezekiel 33:11:

"As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked (i.e. Sinner) but that the wicked turn from his way and live! Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways: for why will ye die?"

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