- Pamphlet: 14 pages
- Publisher: Rose Publishing (July 2, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596365358
- ISBN-13: 978-1596365353
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Christian Origins of Halloween pamphlet Pamphlet – July 2, 2012
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She notes, "The name 'Halloween' is a blending of the words 'All Hallows' Eve' ... The term 'hallow' means 'holy'... Early in church history, Christians began to celebrate people who they considered outstanding in holiness... On May 13, 609 or 610 AD, Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome... to the Christian saints, and he established this date as a yearly celebration... sometime between 731 and 741 AD, the date for commemorating the saints was changed to November 1..." (Pg. 1)
She observes, "A popular contemporary notion is that Halloween originated with a pagan holiday called Samhain. The fact that All Saints' Day and Samhain both fall on November 1 has led many people to draw a connection between the two... Despite the fact that nothing is really known about the pre-Christian pagan practices associated with Samhain, some scholars assert that the church established All Saints' Day in an effort to Christianize the pagan festival. There are several reasons to disagree with this claim: The celebration of Samhain was a tradition limited to the Northern Celtic regions... By the time that All Saints' Day came to be associated with November 1, Christianity had been well established in this region for at least 300 years. There is no indication that ancient pagan practices persisted on Samhain in a way that concerned Christian leaders. Even if remnants of pagan practices remained in the remote parts of Christian lands... they were probably not of particular concern to the Christian leadership..." (Pg. 2)
She adds, "The idea that Samhain was a festival of the dead was popularized by Sir James Frazer in his famous work The Golden Bough... It is more likely that the Christian holiday of All Saints' Day... introduced a focus on the dead to Samhain rather than the reverse... there is no evidence to suggest that Christian leaders were influenced by Samhain in either the establishment of All Saints' Day or the selection of its date." (Pg. 3)
She notes, "It was not a coincidence that Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of All Saints' Church... on October 31, 1517. This was the eve on which Christians were particularly focused on their dead and appealed to the saints on their behalf... These theses specifically disputed beliefs about the dead and the afterlife that were intimately tied to Halloween... Thus, October 31 is recognized by many Protestants as Reformation Day." (Pg. 6)
About Halloween symbols, she states that "in the pre-Reformation British Isles, there existed a popular tradition called 'souling.' The poor would move from door to door asking for food and drink in return for a prayer for the dead... It was common for households to give out baked bread or 'soul cakes.' ... It was common ... for people to go 'souling' in disguise... Furthermore, churches throughout greater Europe celebrated All Saints' Day with 'processions in which parishoners dressed up as saints, angels and devils.' These traditions were probably the predecessors of our modern Halloween costumes... Such traditions were easily imported to North America, and it appears that the term 'trick or treat' grew out of a friendly threat to play a prank on anyone who refused to give a treat." (Pg. 11)
She states, "the term 'jack-o-lantern' originally referred to a night watchman or a man with a lantern... The tradition of carving lanterns probably came from the British Isles where there was a long tradition of using turnips, beets, and other vegetables for this purpose... immigrants to North America would have found the large, native pumpkin especially well suited for carving..." (Pg. 12)
As to whether Christians should celebrate Halloween, she suggests, "Yes, but not like an unbeliever with dark and demonic symbols. Christians can truly celebrate believers who have died." She adds, "Many aspects of Halloween are natural starting points for spiritual conversations... they may open a door to share the gospel!" (Pg. 13) She also provides "ways that we can shine our light in the darkness of Halloween: 1. Decorate your hours with the brightest lights... 2. Host a pumpkin carving party. You can drawn an analogy between the pumpkin carving process and what God does with our lives... 3. Invite neighbors over for cookies or treats and post clip art... that contrasts the 'scary images' of Halloween with the things of God... May God help us to be light in the darkness and to find ways to creatively bring the 'hallowed' back into Halloween." (Back cover)
Ms. Mosteller's publication is wonderfully-illustrated, and adopts a compelling "golden mean" between the more common "pro" and "anti" Christian publications about Halloween, suggesting emphasizing the "spiritual" aspects of the celebrations, rather than just being "for" or "against." This publication deserves our HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION, and should be "must reading" for any Christians pondering the celebration of Halloween.
The pamphlet is thorough in explaining and dispelling the myths about Halloween. Within the explanations, scriptural references are provided along with the components from pagan traditions that were erroneously associated with Halloween are exposed. There are recommendations for Christians to celebrate Halloween that will exemplify their love for Christ while still participating in pumpkin carving, giving out treats, and Halloween parties.
Website resource is recommended as an additional resources to identify other activities to allow God’s light to shine through you combating the darkness that is usually associated with Halloween. This is an awesome resource for Churches as a handout or Christian parents to educate their children about the truth about this holiday. Additionally, it could be used in Sunday School classes to teach children the proper way to celebrate Halloween.