What is Halloween?
Halloween is at 31st of October, the evening before the Catholic Holiday of All Saints. That’s why Halloween has its name. “All Hallows Eve” means the night before All Saints’ Day.
Contrary to public opinion that Halloween is an American invention that has sloshed over to Germany in recent years, Halloween has its origins in Europe. In Ireland this festival was already celebrated early as customs. The Irish emigrants brought it to the USA.
What‘s certain about Halloween is that the Celts celebrated the Samhain festival at the end of summer on 31 October. Parallel to Walpurgis Night on 30 April.
According to Celtic tradition, the gate to the world of the dead (other world) is open that night. People were afraid because they believed that the spirits of the dead could come into their world and take revenge on the living. So they disguised themselves so as not to be recognized by the dead.
In addition, fertility sacrifices, so-called blood sacrifices, were brought to the god of the dead (Cromm Cruach). Animal sacrifice was as much the rule as the sacrifice of small children. (Source: Gruene-insel.de) In years of extremely poor harvests, up to two-thirds of all firstborn children were sacrificed (Source: Irish-net.de). For this purpose, so-called bone fires were ignited in which the victims were burned. The druids, the priests of the Celts, blessed these fires.
It is believed that about 2,000 years ago the first Halloween festival was celebrated in Ireland. Even today there are Samhain festivals in Celtic customs. One of the reasons why plates with sweets are set up is to contact the deceased ancestors. (Source: Celtic Association)
As far as the deeper background of Halloween is concerned, there are always statements from historians that these are only myths. Nevertheless, the Celtic traditions are well documented. In addition, some of them extend to the present day. On the homepage of the Celtic Society the permeability to the world of the dead is presented as a possibility to contact the ancestors (dead). It is emphasized that one does not have to be afraid of it.
The biblical answer
Looking at all these connections, one thing becomes clear: Halloween is an occult festival with a terrible history. So the question is, how should we as Christians position ourselves?
On the subject of incantation, the Bible is quite clear: we should never try to contact the dead. ‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.‘ (Leviticus 19: 31). Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, (1 Chronicles 10:13).
And as far as the celebration of feasts with an occult background is concerned, there are also unambiguous statements in the Bible: In Genesis 25 the story is described in which the Israelites had gone to the sacrificial feasts of Moab. They celebrated with the Moabites, ate the meat of the sacrifice and finally threw themselves to the ground before the Moabite god Baal. For the Israelites concerned this did not have a good end.
God says in the Ten Commandments that he is a passionately loving God, and he does not want us to deal with foreign gods. Jesus loves us so much that he gave his life for us so that we could be with him (John 3:10). He wants to give us life in abundance (John 10:10). The glorification of death, ghosts and fear does not fit in at all.
Jesus Night instead of Halloween
Of course, today’s Halloween celebrations and children’s door-to-door candy-gathering have no such ulterior motives. But as Christians we should think about whether we want to celebrate a feast that
- was consecrated to another god (the Dead God of the Celts),
- has a horrible history (with the sacrifice of children as fertility victims), and
- was and is consciously designed for contact with the world of the dead (the other world).
This isn’t about spoiling fun. Cool and interesting Christian festivals take place throughout all countries on Halloween. And if there isn’t one near you, why not throw a party?
Instead of Halloween Jesus Night.