Halloween | Christian Apologetic


The celebration of Halloween has been adapted in our Latin American cultures, almost displacing the importance of the Day of the Dead. However little we know where or when this set of activities that takes place on the night of the 31st, the eve of the feast of All Saints is celebrated on the 1st of, and the commemoration of the deceased faithful on the 2nd of.

How can we, the Latin American Christians, understand Halloween?

Halloween, like any cultural tradition, must be understood in its cultural environment that explains it. Otherwise we lend ourselves to prejudices and misunderstandings. Likewise, every cultural tradition must be understood in the transformations that it has suffered over time. That is, a dictionary definition does not help much. So how Halloween was understood in medieval Europe is very different from how it is understood today, in the 21st century, in Latin America. Without knowing the reason or meaning for which someone can celebrate this activity, we can not exercise a detailed judgment. Many people celebrate this event, and all very possibly with very varied meanings. This means that we can not judge from sinners, ungodly, and pagans those Europeans or Americans, or even some Latin Americans who celebrate Halloween in the 21st century.

Broadly speaking I want to mention that there are 4 reasons why people celebrate these days of the 31st. On the 1st, around Halloween. A) Celebrate Halloween as a secular party (without any religious value) with masquerade and dancing. B) They celebrate Halloween as a diabolical religious festival. C) Celebrate Halloween as a Christian religious holiday to remember the deceased. D) Celebrate Halloween as a Christian religious festival to share the gospel.

What does the word Halloween mean?

Halloween is a contraction of the words "All Hallow's eve". Hallow is an old English word that means "Holy" or consecrated. Before taking such meaning, these days of autumn had a different content but always linked to the dead. For example, in countries that experience the four seasons (of the northern hemisphere), instead of tropical countries like ours that experience only 2 seasons a year.

We could understand Halloween as the day on the eve of the Saints. But let's look at the story a little bit. Pope Boniface IV reconsecrated the Pantheon in Rome in the year 613, and established the day of the martyrs on 13. Then Pope Gregory III changed that day to 1 when he dedicated the chapel of San Pedro. Thus during the 9th century of our era, the Roman Catholic Church designated the 1 as a holiday to remember and honor all those who had been canonized, and all the dead saints. Honor those who have died and shared the faith. So, All Hallow's day, the day of the dead saints is 1. The day, 31st is known as the Hallow's eve day. That Hallow's eve, the day before the day of the dead saints, was popularly arrived or transformed to the name of Halloween.

Why does Halloween make more sense in countries in Europe and North America?

In the Northern Hemisphere, autumn means the time of harvest. The beginning of autumn means that winter is approaching and everything is going to die. For example, trees lose their leaves, and other plants dry up. The long days of summer light are replaced by short days of darkness. Many primitive cultures believed that with the old year everything literally died, and with the new year everything was literally reborn. For the druid Celts, for example, they believed that between the 31st and the first of midnight (Samhain) a crack was generated in time, and good and evil spirits visited the living. So the druids made great bonfires (symbolizing beauty, sanctity) to scare away evil spirits, and attract good ones.

When Christianity came to the Celtic peoples, the tradition of Samhain of the druids does not disappear, despite the efforts made by the Catholic Church to eliminate pagan superstitions that could connect with Satanism. However the festival of Samhain undergoes some transformation. In the Gregorian calendar, the 1st became the All Saints Day; the Samhain, the eve of All Saints, was renamed All-hallows Eve and, currently, by contraction of the expression, Halloween; and on the other hand, the All Souls Day or All Souls Day became the 2nd of. The three celebrations together, "Eve of All Saints", "Day of All Saints", and "Day of All Souls", are denominated in the Irish tradition Hallowmas.

During the middle ages, in different parts of Europe they began to celebrate different practices during the beginning of winter, according to the end of the harvest. People left offerings of food in front of their doors, for good spirits, and to scare away evil spirits. Over time people began to dress in costumes to imitate good or evil spirits, and eat those offerings, or order food. Thus the people who gave food offerings and received blessing, those who did not, received a curse. That is why there is still a tradition of children dressing up and asking for sweets from house to house. If they receive a sweet bless the home, otherwise they curse the home or do harm.

How did that tradition reach countries like ours?

The media, and Hollywood are responsible. I remember for the first time in the 80's listening to nightclubs, organizing costume dances, Halloween type. For this the films, the cable television, have been of great influence in our culture so that Halloween is an accepted secular practice, as a pretext to organize a vacilona party.

Let's talk about the 4 reasons why people celebrate Halloween. Let's see each of them with examples:

We find the first group that celebrates Halloween as a secular party (without any religious value). People who join the dance, and the party. They can include partiers and neopagans. This is a celebration that has been on the rise for the past 15 years. It should be added that it is a night of partying, but also of abuse and robbery. Some people disguise themselves to make their own and not be identified. It is not a very advisable day to leave. Or else, brave dogs are very upset to see so much unrecognizable mask. People who celebrate Halloween as a diabolical religious festival. Satanic groups, who see this day as a powerful day. Many of these participants adopt animals, and steal animals and even children, mainly black cats to sacrifice them, or exhume bodies from cemeteries. They celebrate these days from 31 to 2 as a Christian religious activity to remember the deceased, and attend the cemetery. They celebrate Halloween as a Christian religious activity to share the gospel. For example, the Anglican Church of England launched a national campaign to re-enact the Halloween celebrations, and remove the frightening and frightening connotations. The Bishop of Bolton, the Protestant Reverend David Gillett, led the campaign and wrote to the major supermarkets in Britain, so that instead of selling masks and costumes of terror before the arrival of Halloween, put items for sale instead " positive and cheerful "of those celebrations. According to the religious, the date of the Halloween is used by many children to experience or celebrate the occult. "The idea is to disassociate Halloween with these obscurantist themes, and attract themes such as light, laughter, and the triumph of good over evil," Gillett said. In that sense, Justin King, executive director of the supermarket chain Sainsbury's, said that after the request of the bishop will include in the line of products other alternative objects for the celebrations. Meanwhile, Trevor Bish-Jones, president of the Woolworth's conglomerate, clarified that he will "seriously think" of the reverend's proposal, while the Asda chain, one of the most popular in the country, said that "it will only sell what the children want to use. "

As we can see, there are ways that our churches, without celebrating Halloween, can bring about a positive change in society, without accusations or reprimands, but recognizing that we can rescue what is not good, and modify the bad things of this festival. What are we going to do this Hallowen? Go to bed early, pray, and wait for the storm to pass, or affect our society in a positive way?

Osías SeguraAuthor: Osías Segura

Associate Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary

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