When I was a ‘church-goer’ many years ago there was always a hushed moment if you mentioned the word Hallowe’en. If people were to speak about it then it would be in condemnation. No Christian should participate in this unholy of days. I just remember a time when I was young carving out a turnip (no American use of pumpkins) and the smell of the burning as the candle burned the lid. I would plague my neighbours asking ‘penny for hallowe’en’. That was it. There were no sacrifices or drinking blood.
It was only when I became a member of the local church was I discouraged from such practices. It was not something I really thought about until the past few weeks. I have been doing some research and reading into the background of Hallowe’en and tried to grasp perspective from all sides.
I read a book by Owen Davies “Paganism”. Even though it was a short introduction to the subject it was rather dull and many times stated that the facts the author was supposedly presenting about pre-Christian religion most of it were conjecture. What it did though was explain that according to Christian beliefs than any other religion that wasn’t backed by the belief in Jesus Christ as God and saviour were seen as pagan beliefs.
Unfortunately, there is a belief that “a pagan” is someone who believes in devil worship and an occultist. This simply isn’t true. Some of the church teachings seem to throw in a mix of Hollywood’s portrayal of the devil and stories that have popularised demons and other horror stories.
Looking back Hallowe’en is more about the ending of the agricultural year, giving thanks for the harvest and lighting fires to symbolise the welcoming of the darker part of the year and to remember souls of those who had died. It was seen as a time when the people had the clearest connection between this life and the next.
I have very little superstitious belief. I cannot believe harm can come from this time. I believe humans inflict horrible harm on each other more than supposed ‘demons’ and the ‘devil’.
So whatever and however you are celebrating make sure you have a good one.
One Reply to “Hallowe’en”
I’ve been thinking it all through too as it’s so much part of children’s lives now and I was part of a church which seemed to ‘demonise’ Halloween too. Now – still not sure but feel we have to look at original meanings and sources to understand so thanks, Phil. The church has lost a lot of its links with the Earth and its seasons and the needs of communities as they live with it all so I’m sure its importnat to re-capture some of the importance of recognising the dark times -physically and spiritually .Still think there are powers beyond our own nature and there is a spiritual battle between good and evil. Loads more to think about but my tea is ready!!!….