Hallowe'en -- Is It For Christians?
~A Biblical look at the compatibility of the Hallowe'en tradition and the Christian Faith~
A Sunday School teacher at an African-American Christian church once said to his class, "I've been considering starting a new holiday that would honor the times of the African slave trade. We would call it "Servants Day." On this day, we would allow certain children to be 'taken' from their homes for a day. They would be dressed in colored rags and colorful paper chains. They would then be 'sold' from house to house for a few dollars and made to do small household chores. At the end of the day, the money they were sold for would be given to the schools of their choice, and the children would be given forty pieces of candy and their 'freedom.' How many of you would celebrate such a holiday?"
Solemn faces all around. Not one person in the class raised their hand. The teacher persisted, "But what if the holiday promoted fun, fellowship, service, meeting of new neighbors, and raised money for schools?" Still no raised hands. Finally the teacher asked, "Well, why wouldn't anyone celebrate this holiday?" The immediate response was clear: in spite of the so-called benefits, the holiday was built around honoring slavery, a part of American history that was extremely painful to African-Americans. No matter what creative interpretations and well-intended purposes were added to this holiday, its roots would still be the honoring of slavery, and it would therefore be very offensive.
Then the teacher dropped the bomb: "If we as African Americans can be so offended by a holiday that is rooted in honoring slavery, then how can we as Christians endorse and honor Hallowe'en, a holiday which is rooted in pagan worship and witchcraft? Are our racial roots more valuable than our spiritual roots in Christ?"
Beloved, this is one of many questions that believers who participate in Hallowe'en must ask themselves: What am I honoring? What is God's position on this? And what is more valuable to me: the traditions of man or the standards of God? The answers to these questions begin with a clear UNDERSTANDING.
In order for us to wisely determine where we stand with Hallowe'en, we must get an understanding of its origins. It must be understood that every holiday (or "holy day") has a special meaning to someone somewhere; that is why it is referred to as a holiday. To be holy means "to be set apart for a particular purpose." Therefore, when we refer to any particular day as a holiday, we are acknowledging that this day has been set apart to honor something or someone. When we participate in events designed to honor a particular holiday, we are also honoring the person or event for which the day has been set apart.
Christmas was set apart to honor the birth of Christ; Passover (or Easter, to some) was set apart to honor the resurrection of Christ. So what or who was Hallowe'en set apart to honor?
First, it would help to understand the name -- Hallowe'en, which is short for Hallowed (or holy) Evening. It is also called Hallowmas and All Hallows Eve. A short study from most encyclopedias will reveal that the holiday originated with the medicine men of the Gaelic Druids of Ireland, an ancient priesthood that worshipped Saman, the Druid Lord of Death. (In Ireland, the day is referred to Oidhche Shamhna, which means "the Vigil of Saman.") According to druid lore, October 31st was thought to be the night of the most spiritual activity, both good and evil, a time when spells and incantations would work best. This is also why, the clear majority of today's costumes worn are of witches, ghosts and goblins, which are intended to represent the many evil spirits that are supposed to be abroad on this night. According to some historians, another purpose for the costumed activity was to deceive the evil spirits wandering about that night into believing that the costumed participant was actually one of them, and thus avoid attack!
It was on this night that the druids thanked their gods for the harvest of crops received that year, which is why the day is also called "the Festival of Samhain (or Saman)." This is why we see many pumpkins, squash and corn used as decorations on Hallowe'en.
Druid Tricks and Treats...
On this night, the druids would boldly venture into the neighboring villages to extort food and other offerings from them. If a household did not comply by providing a "treat", then they could expect a "trick," such as the burning of their homes and the taking of their infants and virgin daughters for sacrifice to Saman.
It was on these village raids that the druids would take hollowed turnips with candles placed within them to use as lanterns. They would carve the faces of their familiars (demonic spirits with which they would communicate regularly) on the turnips. These familiar spirits were called Jocks, and were referred to as "Jock of the Lantern." In America, pumpkins eventually took the place of turnips, and "Jock" became "Jack," as in "Jack o' lantern."
So What Does the Bible Say?
So, considering all that we now know about the Hallowe'en tradition, what should our response be as Christians? Or better yet, what does God expect of us? He makes Himself quite clear in His Word:
"Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you" (2 Cor. 6:17).
"Abstain from the very appearance of evil" (1 Thess. 5:22).
Regarding the traditions and practices of ungodly cultures, the Lord says, "... Thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations" (Deut. 18:9).
Beloved, despite how the ever-changing traditions of the world seek to dress up this holy day and make it acceptable to all, there are those who continue to practice the holiday according to its true roots. This day continues to be one of the largest "holy days" for satanists and witches. If one dared to look at a satanic holiday calender, one would see where the practitioners are called to offer a human sacrifice as part of their celebration ceremony. (They believe that the shedding of blood gives them more demonic power.) Normally the sacrifice of choice would a newborn baby, born to a mother who has normally been impregnated just for such a demonic purpose! Then there are those who offer a lesser sacrifice of an animal or cat, preferably a black one. The druid Lord of Death continues to be worshiped and the true spirit of Hallowe'en continues to be kept on this night!
Saints, what sort of conflicting message do we send when we try to participate in this unholy day on some level or another? Many saints fear the opinions of others, not wanting to be "too holy" or religious. How the enemy must laugh! But whose opinion carries the most weight with us? Our God tells us in no uncertain terms that this "holy day" is NOT for His children! It is evil from its very roots, and we are to have no part in it. There is no excuse, no exception, and no reason why any believer must participate in any part of this most "unholy" day, no matter how cute and innocent the world tries to make it! It is our responsibility to separate ourselves from this pagan holiday that we might make a difference between clean and unclean. Praise God!
~Pastor Ron Barnes