Halloween and Christian Roots
Halloween is an interesting time. It has roots being from a Celtic holiday. It is most known for children dressing up in silly, overpriced costumes and consuming candy. For adults, it is a time celebrating the spooky things. We love a good scary story and will tell tales of vampires, ghosts, mummies, and werewolves. However, we have a history of this night in our Christian roots.
First, a detour about Christmas: Christmas and Halloween have a similar tale to tell. Christmas has really one big holy day but has traditionally had a vigil service. A time the night before a holy day in preparation for the actual holy day. Growing up, I felt Christmas Eve was always a more significant day. Santa came Christmas Eve, and we had some of our best family parties and food Christmas Eve. I genuinely believe that it wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that Christmas Eve was not the day Jesus was born. The pictures of it being night and the holy family looking for a place to stay always led me to believe Jesus was born on Christmas Eve. But the reality is the important day is Christmas Day.
Halloween was the eve before the important day. It was a day of preparation before All Saints Day. People would gather in the evening to worship, pray, and fast. After the service, the nights were filled with celebrations and fun. Why? All Saints Day was a day to celebrate those that had gone before us. It was a day to celebrate all those we knew as Saints and recognized as a cloud of witnesses cheering us on as they continue to live in Christ. It is a day to recognize the big named people if you will that have shaped and influenced our faith throughout history.
The day after All Saint's Day was All Soul's Day. All Soul's Day was about remembering everyone else who had died and are in Christ. It was a day to remember those that had died but also celebrate their lives. It is the day to remember the impact of the people who changed or influenced our lives. Those that are remembered on this day are symbols and reminders of Christ's promise of resurrection. It becomes a day to celebrate the lives of those we love and a day of hope.
Today we often combined the two days, All Saints and All Souls. But I think it is a tradition worth observing. These three holy days remind center our lives on Christ, the impact throughout history by people, and celebrates our loved ones who shaped our lives and our now alive in Christ. It can be a holy three days were we reflect on our own lives, are inspired, and seek to grow in our faith.
So maybe this Halloween, maybe we talk about Jesus and reflect on our lives before we go out and celebrate and have fun. Maybe the day after we remember and are thankful for those who wrote the Bible protected it and preserved it. Maybe we also remember those that have fought for our faith and died for our faith. Finally, maybe we take a day to remember grandma, grandpa, and other loved ones who are no longer with us. Maybe we teach our kids about our family members who are no longer around but shaped our lives. Maybe as we start November, we start by remembering the victory of Jesus and preparing for his coming again.
I think it is great that we have such a fun day with each other and our kids on Halloween.