We’ve all heard the allegations: that Halloween is a pagan (Celtic Druid) holiday dating back before Christianity. You might also hear from some of your Christian friends that by letting your kids go trick-or-treating, they are taking part in celebrating the devil/ evil.
This is simply not true (although, there is a fine line of having fun and celebrating the cult of the dead. Also, Halloween in the celebratory sense, seems to have become an “adult” holiday rather than a childrens holiday but that’s another issue all together and I digress). The origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American.
It’s true that the ancient Celts of Ireland and Britain celebrated a minor festival on Oct. 31 – as they did on the last day of most other months of the year. However, Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Feast of All Saints or “All Hallows” falls on Nov. 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but Pope Gregory III in 741 moved it to Nov. 1st, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome.
In 998, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in Southern France, added a celebration on Nov. 2. This was a day of prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed. This feast, called All Souls Day, spread from France to the rest of Europe.
So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory. What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten.
For a more detailed look at all the customs and traditions of Halloween you can continue to read here.
FOOTNOTE: Source taken from http://dzehnle.blogspot.ca/2010/10/halloween-is-not-pagan-festival-period.html
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