Halloween is not pagan

Every year, conservative Christians either guiltily participate in Halloween or reject it altogether. As everyone knows, Halloween is a pagan holiday. A day to celebrate the satantic. Witches. Ghosts. Devils. Hobos. Ninja Turtles. You know...dark stuff.

The history of the holiday is not a straight line but most historians do note that pagans such as the Celts had fall festivals toward the end of October including a day called, Samhain in which the Celts communed with other worldly figures under big bonfires. Scholars think that when Romans conquered the Celts, that holiday was given a Roman twist but still maintained some sort of commemoration of the dead.

And you can see why someone might think Halloween is pagan as a result of this. Late October, other worldly figures, commemoration of the dead.... Halloween.

Well, sort of. That might be like a Halloween movie. But that is not Halloween. They did not, for example, go door to door and get snack sized packs of Nerds. Nor did they dress up like Darth Vader. They were not yet carving pumkins or even going trick or treating.

Further, when it came to the Celts, it was not like the Fall Fest was the only holiday that celebrated the creepy other world. They were super creepy people who practiced human sacrifice and most of their holidays were creepy.

 When the regions of Northern Europe were converted to Christianity, it is true that holidays and feast days were sometimes placed near old pagan holidays. When this was done, the church was careful to prohibit the explicitly pagan traditions while allowing continued observance of the fun and innocent aspects. For example, Celts sacrificed humans.... the church was against that. But if Celts had costume parties, the church was okay with that. In other words, they de-paganized the holiday, placed an explicitly Christian holiday in its stead, and then moved forward. In the case of Halloween, the eighth century Pope, Gregory III, designated November 1 as 'All Saint's Day.' Or, in the old fashioned English, "All Hallows Day" (with the night before being, "All Hallows Eve").

Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats. Everything we see today. And almost every part of the modern Halloween celebration happened after the peoples of Europe converted to Christianity.

Here is the way that the bible says Christianity works: when someone converts, God changes the parts of them that are sinful and bad, and he keeps the parts that are good. One does not become a different person, just a renewed and restored person. And when cultures and societies are converted, no one asks that they give up everything distinctive about who they were.... just the parts that conflicted with Christianity. And when it came to fall festivals, the people of Northern Europe did this. No one seriously continues to conjure up spirits in the woods. No one is sacrificing to the dead.

No. Catholics, Lutherans and others celebrate All Saints Day. Kids dress up like superheroes, princesses and ninjas. Parents enjoy staying inside and waiting for cute kids to show up at the door. Everyone increases their odds of getting cavities. No one does anything pagan.

Halloween is not pagan.


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