Since coming out of a protestant frame of mind recently, I realized I still had many of the same reservations about the "pagan-ness" of many holidays and traditions. As Halloween approaches, I see my family members and room mates looking for costumes and decorations. I will not lie- I LOVE the fall, I love the Halloween decorations, the eerie activities, the memories from my childhood, and the Disney channel movie marathons haha. It's just a fun time people of every age seems to enjoy. For the past three years I kind of tried to shy away from celebrating since I had read so much protestant propaganda on the web and from my own neighbors/religious friends. And for some reason, not even by my own doing, I ended up missing the past few trick-or-treats because of trips or school work. At the time, I figured it was best anyways, finding a way not to participate in a satanic holiday with a legitimate excuse. This eventually snow-balled into the same people warning me Christmas and Easter were satanic as well and that ONLY Biblical feasts should be celebrated. (Naturally, my family and non-religious friends thought I was crazy and wanted nothing to do with my ranting. But anyways...)
Now that I'm in college, I am sure the dressing up and Halloween spirit will start again, but not the way I wanted to. My room mate proposed a grand idea for us all-Lets be Hugh Hefner and Playboy Bunnies! Um NO WAY! Not to mention there would be no innocent trick or treating. Halloween activies would include frat parties, scantilly dressed party-goers, and gallons of alcohol. I immediately reverted back to my anti-halloween mindset and called home. I told my mom that I thought coming home that weekend would be best.
While home, my mom bought a halloween movie that came with a little decked out stuffed animal. I looked at the endearing little toy and wondered why on earth Pagans would dress up and go around asking for treats in their rituals. I had asked one of my anti-Halloween sources and they said "we speculate the pagans cloathed themselves in animal skins and animal heads". That did not satisfy me. Not only was is a half baked theory, it didn't cover the whole question. I wanted unbias halloween history, but I really couldn't find anything.
I had read a blog last Halloween by a young Catholic mother who had re-entered the Church. She wrote about coming home to the feasts and how she celebrated Halloween with a new outlook...A Catholic one. She taught her kids about All Saints Day, they baked cookies in remembrance, and then they trick-or-treated for some fun. It was similar to Christmas Eve traditions in preparation for the true holiday. I remembered All Saints Day was November 1, hence the All Hallow's Eve which was later shortened to Hallow'ene. Hallow just means saint, or holy. It's not satanic. So I decided that was a step toward some truth, pagans did not create the title of the day, so I wanted to dig further. I wanted a Catholic perspective. Their holiday spurred the naming of this mysterious practice, maybe there was some insight from a Catholic author.
I ended up finding *this* article, which I found very compelling. This answered all my questions in full, it makes historical sense, and there is no real grasping-at-straws "this is satanic because I said so!" mentality. I never really enjoyed hearing the pagan anti-holiday ranting the religious people I knew spewed, but I felt they were on to something at that point in my life and spiritual journey. Then, I hated the "evil" Catholic Church and the lies and traditions she created. Now that I see the complete idiocy of my ways, I need to fully re-evaluate all of my religious habits.
For one, Christmas was always my favorite holiday, I never fully stopped celebrating, but I did put a spiritual damper on it for the past few years. I made myself feel guilty about enjoying it and tried to put the focus on Hanukkah. This was such a shame because as a child, I would meditate (yes as a child!!) on that day and about how Mary was in labor bringing Jesus into this world! Luckily I came out before too many Christmases went by. But now I see there is more than just Christmas at stake. I cut myself off from hundreds of holidays and feastdays by ignoring my Catholic heritage. Even if you disagree that Halloween has some Catholic/Christian root in it, there are still the saint days and feasts I forgot about.
So this year, I will openly participate in Halloween, but not just on a secular level. I want to in preparation for All Saints Day. I probably will still come home seeing as college life and festive occasions usually equal sin (haha), but I will do so with a new perspective and intent. I have friends who go to college in our town so we're already making plans to trick-or-treat with her little brother, watch some Halloween movies, and bake (soul cakes?). Hence why I shall go costume shopping tomorrow before I go back to school later that night! I will for sure be looking for a modest one, there will be no hoochie mama outfits in my wardrobe. any ideas? :P
I'm already looking forward to All Saints Day this year. I've been doing research and reading the various blogs about the saints on their "days" and this has done nothing but nourish my faith. I can feel the realness of their sacrifice. I see the terrors they faced in keeping their faith strong...something we don't see in a free country like America. In my english class, the same topic has been brought up: for how long will we be free? Will there come a day when my religious rights will be stripped from me and I am placed into the same positions the saints were all those centuries ago? Will I have the "guts" to proclaim Yeshua's name with the threat of death looming over me? I take my easy life for granted which is something the martyrs of Christendome never had. They never had the chance to practice their faith freely and their deaths paved the road for my fortune. I feel honored to be united with such heroic souls in the Body of Christ and as they are our spiritual family, I want to remember the saints, those known and unknown, for all they have done for me.
Like the veterans who won me my American freedom, the saints won me my right to practice my faith, and for that I am ever grateful.
Ps: Click this too, good information here. Especially like the point about Germany and Ireland ;)