Halloween hit a Thursday this year. I know that’s not a shocker to anyone who looks at a calendar. It was difficult for me because it conflicted with...
Hallows Eve at The Resurrection
The name Halloween comes from the phrase Hallows Eve, meaning the night before All Saint’s Day. The Celts in Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Brittany in northwestern France celebrated New Year’s Day on November 1st. The Druids who were the religious leaders of the Celts organized a festival the night before to honor the lord of death Samhain (Sowen). On October 31st, the Celts believed that Samhain would release all the souls of the dead return to their earthly homes to visit people.
So where did Trick or Treat come from? There is no direct origin; however, it was believed by the Celts that on this night evil spirits, ghosts and witches roamed around causing trouble by scaring people and playing tricks on them. The only way to be safe was to bribe them with treats or to dress up as one in order to fool them.
Catholicism and Halloween have no direct connection, in fact some see Halloween as an evil holiday; however, I see it as an opportunity to bring others closer to Christ. “What? How can I do that?” you ask. Well I’m not the first person to have this idea, years ago when Christianity spread to the Celtic region many tried to change Halloween to the night before All Soul’s day on November 2nd. The early Christians saw how the Druids were remembering the dead but wanted to make it more symbolic. One of the ways the early Christians tried to change Halloween is by having the children go door to door and pray for all those who had passed away in return for a treat. So instead of threatening havoc and chaos they offered prayer and peace. In a way the children were reenacting the good deeds of early saints.
Since then things have changed and now people dress up as super heroes, princesses and other things that are not at all scary. So you might ask, “How can we make a holiday based on pagan rituals Christian? These are all questions we should ask ourselves. Maybe instead of dressing up as devils, witches or other things that remind us of evil we can stay to more pure themes. If you want to continue to be scary skeletons and ghosts are perfectly fine, they can remind us of all those that have come before us. But say you want to be more gruesome well then how about dressing about as a saint. Yes, a saint we can dress as saints and martyrs of the Catholic Church. Now some of you are probably wondering how this is gruesome. Well, if you knew some of the stories of the saints you could come up with some pretty cool costumes. There was Thomas Moore who was beheaded, St. Catherine of Siena who had stigmata, or you can dress as Saint Lucy who legend has it had her eyes taken out by the governor Diocletian. All of these saints would make awesome costumes and are unique because they honor those that gave their lives for Christ. Lastly Halloween marks the eve of All Saint’s Day, a day that we Catholics use to remember all of those that lived their lives in God’s will. The saints are a daily reminder of how we should love and serve God. People remember Halloween as a time for ghosts and ghouls but maybe instead it should be a time to for us to celebrate all those who have served and lived in God’s love. I’m not saying you have to boycott Halloween but maybe change a little of how you celebrate. Maybe instead of offering a trick you offer a prayer in return for a treat like the early Christians. This is a time to remember the dead and remember all those that we loved and all those that loved us.