Answers to "Ask Mike" Questions
32. What do you think about Halloween?
Like a few other holidays, pagan practices influenced what later became Hallowe'en. Hallowe'en falls on the evening before All Saints Day which is also known as Allhallows or Hallowmas. The Roman Catholic Church established All Saints Day in the 9th century to honor Christian saints. The next day, November 2, is All Souls Day. It too is of Roman Catholic origin and is observed to help purify the spirits of the dead.
Ancient European peoples observed a holiday in late autumn to celebrate the end of the harvest season. The holiday that influenced Hallowe'en the most was probably the Celtic holiday of Samhaim. The Encarta online encyclopedia says, "According to the Celtic pagan religion, known as Druidism, the spirits of those who had died in the preceding year roamed the earth on Samhaim evening. The Celts sought to ward off these spirits with offerings of food and drink." When the Romans conquered Britain, they absorbed Celtic religious traditions into their own observances.
Many of the traditions associated with Hallowe'en, however, come out of Christian superstitions from the middle ages. The jack-o-lantern, for example, came from the 15th and 17th centuries when a fear of witches seized Europe.
Because of Hallowe'en's association with the dead, demons, and the occult supernatural, many contemporary Christians refuse to observe it. To do so, they feel, honors Satan and his minions.
I think Hallowe'en is what you make it! On one hand, if it becomes a day to glorify all the horrible superstitions, very real demonic forces, or the occult, it ought go by unobserved. On the other hand, if it is observed as a festival marking the end of the harvest or merely as a time for a party, it is harmless. Follow Paul's instructions in 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 and Romans 14 when it comes to expressing your views. If you choose to observe Hallowe'en, you should probably do some basic instruction to your children. Here are some things to do:
1. Teach your children the difference between what you do as a Christian family and what the world thinks about Hallowe'en.
2. Organize some fun activity -- our church has a "Great Pumpkin Party" -- that your children can enjoy.
3. Guide your children in the selection of any costume -- avoid witches, demons, Satan and the like.
4. Be very careful with what is commonly called "Trick or Treating" -- there are some sick people out there.
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