ONE WEEK from today is Halloween, a day promoted as a time for children to dress up and eat too much candy. It is a day of celebration with a sinister background that churches ignore, or plod through ignorantly. It is a celebration that many churches view, properly as wrong but promote, nonetheless, by featuring alternative Halloween activities.
So that you do not dismiss my criticism of Halloween, and its celebration by Christians, as merely the demented ramblings of a follower of Jesus Christ, please note: The next five paragraphs are quoted directly from The Witches' Web, a major source for those in "the craft" (that is, witchcraft).
"OUR MODERN celebration of Halloween is a descendant of the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain, meaning Summer's End. To Witches, Samhain is one of the four High Holidays, or Greater Sabbats. Because it is the most important holiday of the year (emphasis added), it is sometimes called the Great Sabbat. Pagans consider Samhain the most magical night of the year. It is upon this night, that the veil which separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest, making it a Night of Power. As witches, we observe this day as a religious festival.
"Many divination practices were associated with Samhain ... Ducking for apples was a common marriage divination. The first person to bite an apple would be the first to marry in the coming year.
"Bobbing for apples may well represent the remnants of a pagan baptism rite ... The water-filled tub is a latter-day Cauldron of Regeneration, into which the novice's head is immersed. The fact that the participant in this folk game was usually blindfolded withhands tied behind the back also puts one
in mind of a traditional Craft initiation ceremony.
"PERHAPS THE most famous icon of the holiday is the Jack-O'-Lantern. It was used as a lantern by people who traveled the road this night, the scary face to frighten away spirits or fairies who might otherwise lead one astray. Set on porches and in windows (in modern times), they cast the same spell of protection over the household.
"The custom of dressing in costume and `trick-or-treating' descends from these pagan origins."
If you disagree with those definitions and revelations, argue with the witches. They say it is so.
In the eighth century, in an attempt to get people to abandon the festival of Samhain and all its occult practices, the church established "All Saints Day" on Nov. 1st. "All Saints Day" came to be called "All Halloweds" since it was a day to honor all the "hallowed ones," the Christian dead martyred by the Roman Empire.
SINCE SAMHAIN always occurred the evening before "All Halloweds," it came to be called "All Halloweds Evening" or just "Halloweds E'en." From this, the word evolved to "Hallows E'en" and, finally, to "Halloween." Because of the relationship in the names, and the adjacent dates, many today entertain the completely unfounded idea that Halloween is somehow a Christian holiday.
THERE HAS NEVER been anything Christian about Halloween, but Christians have been duped into embracing it and accepting it. To celebrate a substitute Halloween, one that mimics the original concept, performing pagan rituals and calling it by another name, is a major exercise in self-deception. To continue the practice of witches is to support them and to teach our children to support them.
To the believers in Ephesus, believers in a city where pagan worship practices dominated almost every sector of private and business life, the Apostle Paul wrote, "Do not have fellowship with, do not communicate with the barren, fruitless undertakings, deeds and products of darkness. Instead, expose them by forcing them into the light."
We say the alternative celebrations are for the children. Children do not understand the difference between a pagan Halloween or Christian Halloween alternatives. They know they are getting candy on Halloween. They know that they are dressing in costume. They know they are going to a party. While it may make parents feel better to call Halloween something else, it is only a matter of semantics.
Paul told the church in Thessalonica, the church to whom he gave urgent counsel to prepare for the return of Christ, "If it looks like evil, stay away from it."
WE ARE ONLY fooling ourselves if we think we are redeeming Halloween by offering "Christian alternatives." You cannot rehabilitate darkness simply by changing the name of the party.
The author is a local free-lance writer. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.