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Irving Weekly Title

Opinion

Origin Of Halloween And Does It Really Matter?

According to history.com, Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.

When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

As history records, the Catholic Church adopted parts of several pagan traditions which contradict the Holy Scriptures they hold dear. 

As Christianity gained a foothold in pagan communities, church leaders attempted to reframe Samhain as a Christian celebration.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints, but soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. 

Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, seemingly festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats.

Knowing the origin of Halloween and its pagan background, does it really matter today?

The answer depends if you are a Christian or not.  If you are not a devout Christian, you probably don't care about the origin and just follow whatever you are dictated to do by the majority.  You might deny that fact, but it is true.  Most take their children trick-or-treating because that's what the majority do and you reason that you don't want your children to feel left out.    The commercial system influences your actions because they make money from pushing "traditions".   For example, did you know that one quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween?  How about the amount of money spent on costumes and decorations?   

If you are Christian, you respect and study the Bible.  What does the Bible say about Halloween?   According to an article on jw.org, the Bible does not mention Halloween, but adds, "however, both the ancient origins of Halloween and its modern customs show it to be a celebration based on false beliefs about the dead and invisible spirits, or demons."  The articles states, "The Bible warns: “There must never be anyone among you who . . . consults ghosts or spirits, or calls up the dead.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-​12The Jerusalem Bible) While some view Halloween as harmless fun, the Bible indicates that the practices associated with it are not. At 1 Corinthians 10:20, 21, the Bible says: “I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too.”​—New International Version."

Should you care then?  The decision is for you and your family to make based on your belief system.

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