The War on Halloween?

In a recent interview with Elvira, Time magazine called the popularity of Halloween "one perk of America’s inexorable march toward total godlessness." Countless Internet articles warn about the wickedness of the holiday and debate whether Christians should celebrate Halloween at all.

But some Christians, including Kirk Cameron, have a different approach. They want to embrace the holiday and reshape it in a Christian form.

Christian holidays outshining other festivals is nothing new. Both Easter and Christmas are linked to earlier pagan festivals. Many historians suspect that these Christian holidays were established on their chosen dates to reframe and overtake the existing celebrations.

As Sam Moorhead, an advisor at the British Museum, explained during a 2012 BBC interview about the conversion of Saturnalia into a Christian holy day:
"If Christianity moves Christmas into December, at the Saturnalia and the birthday of Sol, you can then fade out these other festivals and incorporate elements into the Christian festival. You can attempt to move on as if nothing has happened."
The origin of Halloween is more complicated with roots that are said to come from both the pagan celebration of Samhain, as well as the Christian holiday known as All Saints' Day.

In the seventh century, Pope Boniface the IV established All Saints Day as a day to celebrate all the Catholic saints. This holiday was originally celebrated on May 13, but was moved to November 1 (the same time as Samhain and other fall festivals) in the eighth century.

Modern-day Halloween, celebrated on October 31, takes its name from the phrase "All Hallows Eve" which refers to the night before All Saints Day. However, Halloween customs--such as wearing costumes, trick-or-treating and bobbing for apples--trace back to Samhain.

In the United States, Halloween has now become a largely secular holiday. From costumed bacchanals and haunted houses to trick-or-treating and harvest festivals, people of many different religions, and none at all, celebrate Halloween in their own way.

Some Christians want this to change.

Actor Kirk Cameron has begun encouraging Christians to celebrate Halloween by holding "the biggest party on your block." He says it's a great time to hand out Gospel tracks and teach kids how ghosts, witches and demons were defeated by Jesus' resurrection.

In Italy, Catholic exorcist priests, including Father Aldo Buonaiuto, advocate that Halloween be replaced by Holyween, a rival festival which would celebrate the saints.

According to Father Buonaiuto, "Halloween is the anti-chamber towards something much more disturbing. For devotees of the occult, October 31 is the satanic new year. It’s a time for luring new converts. And it’s a time when exorcists have to work harder."

The suggested Holyween would replace all the current trappings of Halloween (pumpkins, skeletons, ghosts, etc.) with pictures of saints and martyrs, while churches would hold special masses and prayer vigils.

This Christian approach to Halloween echoes the Christian mindset often seen in American politics. Apparently, it isn't acceptable to celebrate a holiday (or simply live) according to your own beliefs, when there are Christians around who can show you a "better" way.

3 comments:

  1. Hey, it's not a holiday unless we can use it as an opportunity to foist Christianity on people.

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    1. At least if you're Kirk Cameron. It makes me sad that's he's ruined my happy Growing Pains memories. Sigh.

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  2. I thought Hallowe'en was really all halloweds' eve - so no need the change the name. In fact, the practices remind one of the anglo-saxon pre-christion animists - witches, warlocks, Merlin, etc. I would not want to return to that era by any means , but it does remind us from where we come - Harry Potter still lives among us.
    Bob Hannah

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