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I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Friday, October 23, 2015

HALLOWEEN

All hallows eve – the holy night before – this is what Halloween
means. Now what is the history and religious significance behind
Halloween? Just what is the holy day that follows this night? The holy
day is the celebration of All Saints.

There are times when commercialism and secular society have
appropriated as their own what is a religious feast. Many of our
religiously important days have transitioned into commercialism – a
way for greeting card companies or department stores to increase
profits. Many historically religious holidays of a particular
religion has been secularized blurring the lines between religions and
diminishing their meanings.

Halloween is a great example of this appropriation. The observance of
Halloween has changed this sacred feast into several months long
shopping spree. , a time for children to express themselves through
costumes, and a celebration of humor and terror. But let's take a
look at its roots.

Since the early caveman people have followed the movement of the moon
and seasons marking certain times as sacred, that is, turning a people
to God in thanksgiving or supplication. Nature based religions see and
honor God in these seasons and celestial events which mark time and
form our calendars and give some order to history.

One of these special occasions is the end of October. For the northern
half of the globe this month marks the end of the harvest and occasion
to celebrate and give thanks for the fruits of the earth through God's
goodness and hard work.

Long before mass media, even before printing presses, the easiest way
to teach and hand down traditions within a culture was to hold
celebrations that included imagination and creativity through concrete
symbols of truths and beliefs. Consider how precious we hold the flag
as a symbol of our nation and the blood shed for our freedom.

Catholics long before any split in Christianity used these "pagan"
events as natural tools for directing one to God. Many of our
celebrations have a long tradition in turning people to God. Thus they
"baptized" these occasions and appropriated them to the church under a
different name but keeping to a culture's timing. The Celtic peoples
in particular had October 31st as a special day.

Some Christians believe that dressing up as the devil, witches,
monsters etc. is honoring evil. But the early Christian tradition is
just the opposite. How do you teach children to not be afraid? You
make fun of that which is feared. By mocking evil and even death
itself we take away its power. We affirm the faith that the
resurrection is the victory over death and sin. This affirmation of
faith can be fun and educational

This victory over death and fear is celebrated in the seasonal change
when we enter into the darkness of longer nights and an earth gone
fallow. Thus the Church celebrates all the saints we have known or who
have surrounded us. All Saints celebrates our family members who have
passed into a new life in the Kingdom of God. It celebrates the known
and unknown individuals who found love and tried to share it.

So once again we take back this festival of life to give thanks to God
for the blessing of the harvest and affirm our faith that grace is
greater than sin. It allows us to celebrate that faith can vanquish
fear. Celebrating Halloween reminds us "to taste and see the goodness
of the Lord". Enjoy your treats and praise the Lord. After the fun,
don't forget, take time to remember the saints in your family and
those who have specially touched your life. This may be a great time
to take out pictures to share with your children the stories of their
saintly forbearers.

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