Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween "Hallow's Evening"

It is October 31st, and this day brings many memories to me and possibly you reading this blog as well.  It is "Halloween."  In America and other nations, many young people dress up in different costumes and go "trick or treating."  The holiday seems innocent enough, but of course there are the dangers of knocking on stranger's doors, receiving candy and other treats from strangers, and becoming a victim of a prank or more recently, gang initiations.  

Many Catholics and other separated Christians wonder if it is ok to celebrate this day since most of it seems to be about evil, death, darkness and violence.  All throughout television scary movies about psychopathic serial killers, zombies, ghosts, and monsters are being played in syndication.  There are even ghost shows out there having live ghost hunting sessions.  The question that comes to mind on this day is: 


Is this day all about a glorification of evil?

Well let's briefly look at the origin of this holiday.  Some claim that this day originated in the Pagan Celtic harvest festival called Samhain.  The Catholic Church purposely moved All Saints day and All Souls day to coincide with this celebration in order to drain Paganism and convert it to Christianity.  


However, that is disputed because there seems to be no evidence that Pope Gregory IV was aware of this Pagan celebration.  Nevertheless, the Universal Holy Day of All Saint's day was added the day after the 31st and hence the 31st became to be known as, "All Hallow's Eve."  


In the Liturgy, Solemnities begin at the vespers (Evening Prayer) before the actual day of the Solemnity.  So in effect, All Saint's day begins at the vespers of October 31st.  Moreover, All Soul's day follows All Saint's day.  This further adds to the speculation that the Catholic Church did this on purpose to convert Pagans to Christianity.  


During the Reformation, ultra conservative and fundamentalist sects attacked the idea of Saints, praying to saints and of course celebrating them.  Groups such as the Puritans forbade the celebration of Hallow's Eve and anything that was suspected as Catholic, Pagan, or Satanic.   However, while in America the Puritans did not prevent Hallow's Eve from "evolving" to its present form.  Many cultural elements were added to it such as the Jack o' Latern, Trick or treating, dressing up in costumes etc.  


Like any Holy Day, society often twists the purpose/meaning of it.  Hallow's Eve became Halloween and now is celebrated as a day when people just dress up, trick or treat and just enjoy themselves as someone/something else.  


While these celebrations seem strange and "evil," but also are fun, we have to thank the Catholic Church for the fun part, so to speak.  The trick or treat part derives from the Medieval practice of young people going door to door collecting, "Soul cakes."  For each cake, the child prayed for a soul in Purgatory.    Instead of the jingle, "trick or treat, gimme something good to eat"  kids said, "A soul cake! A soul cake! Have mercy on all Christian souls, for A soul cake!"  


In my opinion, Catholics and other Christians should not fear Halloween, but try to re-Christianize it.  Remember that this day belongs to the Lord and us.  Do not let secularism or paganism claim it as their own.  Have fun with it, but always keeping in mind that evil is evil and is something that is real and must be avoided.   


Parents: If you let your kids dress up as monsters or violent characters, explain to them that what these characters represent or do in movies or shows must remain fiction and not become reality.  


We must strive for a world where monsters, violence, murder only exist in fiction.  


We must also remember to be proud of who we are.  Dressing up as a monster, character or whatever must be done just for fun and not to "feel" like someone else.  You are a unique individual.  No one else will ever be LIKE YOU!  Appreciate that!  


It is up to you if you wish to celebrate this day or not in the way secular society celebrates it now.  Instead of having kids dress up as violent things, one can try dressing them up as saints, angels or positive people as well.  



  • Say a pray before going out to Our Lady, St Michael and your Guardian Angel.  Pray for each home you visit.  


  • Check the sex offender's list to make sure you know who you are visiting.  


  • Check the treats before letting your children eat them.     

  • Check your surroundings. Try to be with a crowd, not alone.  




  

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