The Festivals Halloween; All Saints And All Souls Day!

Ephesians 5:15-16 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.”

All Hallows Eve or Halloween

The word “Halloween” comes from All Hallows’ Eve and means “hallowed evening.” Halloween has its roots in the ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated on the night of October 31. The Celts lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France.

Halloween is the evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows’ Day. These Christian days are also known as All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day. These two days are usually celebrated on the 1 and 2 November respectively, thus giving the Halloween holiday on 31 October, the full name of All Hallows’ Eve; meaning the evening before All Hallows’ Day.

The original ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, was when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts that they believed were the dead which returned to harm the earth on Samhain.

The All Hallows’ (Saints) Day 

All Saints’ Day which is also known as All Hallows’ Day or Hallowmas is the day after Halloween. It is a feast day celebrated on 1st November by Anglicans and Roman Catholics. It is an opportunity for believers to remember all the saints and martyrs, known and unknown, throughout Christian history.

In the Catholic Church, “all saints” commemorates the church triumphant entry of saints in Heaven. Clearly, All Saints’ Day is a prayer day associated with the Catholic Church. In their theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven.

All Saints’ Day remains, for many, a feast day, on which they celebrate the Communion of All Saints. It’s a day for being with family, visiting cemeteries, sharing memories of loved ones, and honouring traditions.

Related: Ascension And The Pending Return Of The Lord!!

All Souls’ Day

All Souls’ Day is a day of almsgiving and prayers for the dead. The intention is for the living to assist those in purgatory. Many western churches annually observe All Souls’ Day on November 2 and many eastern churches celebrate it before Lent and the day before Pentecost.

Roman Catholic doctrine holds that the prayers of the faithful on earth will help cleanse these souls to fit them for the vision of God in heaven. Requiem masses are commonly held, and many people visit and sometimes decorate the graves of loved ones.

Catholics believe in purgatory, whereas Baptists do not. Baptists and Pentecostals believe that the way to salvation is only through faith in God. Catholics, on the other hand, believe that salvation can also be achieved through belief in Holy sacraments.

Purgatory is the state of those who die in God’s friendship, assured of their eternal salvation, but who still require purification to enter into the happiness of heaven. Those in heaven are referred to as the “Church triumphant” while those who are alive still on earth are called the “Church militant”.

The celebration of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day stems from a belief that there is a powerful spiritual connection between those in heaven and those who are alive.

Symbols of Halloween

As the celebration evolved, people would dress up and go door-to-door, which is the origin of Halloween costumes. Over time, it became a day of activities like festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats.

The owl is the symbol of Halloween according to Folklore Historians. Owls perch themselves on branches and hoot from time to time on any given night, but these animals play a big role when it comes to being spooky.

Others say that bats have been associated with Halloween thanks to the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain. The celebrations included lighting bonfires, which attracted bugs — which, in turn, attracted bug-munching bats.

Many Americans celebrate the traditions of Halloween by dressing in costumes and telling tales of witches and ghosts. Pumpkins are carved into glowering jack-o’-lanterns. Children parade from house to house, knocking on doors and calling out “Trick or treat!” hoping to have their bags filled with goodies.

Forbidden From Celebrating Halloween

Jehovah’s Witnesses and some other denominations forbid members from celebrating Halloween. Muslims, Jews and Pentecostal Christians abstain from this celebration. Many faiths, such as Mormonism, Hinduism and Buddhism leave it up to individual members to decide whether they want to celebrate Halloween.

Some countries such as France, Germany, Holland, Taiwan, Austria, Australia and most Asian and African countries do not celebrate Halloween.

While the Bible doesn’t mention Halloween specifically, it does, of course, have lots to say about the forces of evil. They are many stories where good and evil are pitted against each other, so wisdom is needed about facing darkness, deception, and fear in your own life.

Related: Not Being Fearful Is Easier Said Than Done!

Be Engaged With Your Fears 

Halloween has survived because it allows us to engage with our fear. That is, our fear of death, of the dark, of the unknown — in the same space that encourages fun and joy. It transforms the things that we dread the most into a celebration where we can embrace the things we don’t fully understand.

According to the original tradition, the spirits of the dead come back to harm people and crops in the physical world. People wore costumes of monsters, ghosts, and devils to scare away the harmful spirits. They tried to appease or scare the restless spirits on Halloween, and these practices led to many of today’s Halloween traditions.

The founder of one Christian church said that dressing up, either by wearing a costume or colouring oneself for Halloween, is tantamount to worshipping the devil.  “But test everything; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

Whatever is your personal persuasion, you can replace fear with faith, and do enjoy your holidays.

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