Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Festivals and Halloween

A couple of days ago we got in the mail a postcard from the Baptist church that MOPS is held. It was inviting us to a Fall Festival complete with a Trunk or Treat. If this is alluding to Halloween without using the word, I'm not sure what is.

I understand that a lot of people have a problem with Halloween because it is so secularized. The idea of children getting dressed up and asking for candy isn't exactly Christian, but the holiday like so many others is Christian with a twist.

In case you don't realize, for whatever reason most major Christian holidays are close to pagan holidays. For example, Christmas (which means Christ Mass) was celebrated in December because of it being winters longest night or half way point. If you read the Bible, you'll notice that Jesus was born in the spring. Shepherds didn't sleep outside with the sheep in the cold. So it's more likely Jesus was born in the spring. But we celebrate his birth in winter close to the Winter celebration of the pagans.

Easter is also filled with pagan images. The word Easter comes from an Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess. It has nothing to do with the resurrection which is why some churches refer to Easter as Resurrection Sunday. Also this pagan holiday was all about fertility so bunnies were prevalent.

And this brings me to Halloween, a holiday which also has origins in paganism. Halloween and costuming oneself and putting a candle in a pumpkin (well turnip) has it's origins in Ireland with the celts who were pagans. It became a popular holiday in Ireland and the UK and Canada and the US. But it also has it's name rooted in All Hallows (hallow meaning sacred) Eve like Christmas Eve. For Catholics it is a celebration of those who have passed on as saints and prayers for those who have passed but aren't saints yet. I've heard that some groups have decided to take the more pagan elements out of the holiday, they've created an All Saints party where children dress as saints and learn about them.

I'm not sure if it really matters how you celebrate. If you understand that it's not about devil worship or scaring away ghosts, then I think dressing up is totally fine. I mean St. Patty's day isn't about wearing green or drinking beer, but those are folk traditions like baking a cake for one's birthday. Last time I checked, HB didn't get a party with a big cake and candles for his actual birthday nor was he born into a cake. So how having a cake for one's birthday became an important tradition to the Romans. Early Christians didn't celebrate their birthdays because it was considered pagan. Just food for thought (and a better understand why Jehovah's witnesses don't celebrate holidays including their own birthdays). So I guess you could say that trick-or-treating to me, is just another folk tradition. It's neither negative nor positive.

I suppose that I'm saying while I understand the whole Fall Festival thing, I'm a little puzzled about why not just call it Halloween especially if the church is using phrases like Trunk-or-Treat to promote the event. Is it because they are trying to separate themselves from the secular? Is it because they think the holiday is more pagan in nature? Or is it because they don't want to admit that they are celebrating Halloween? Maybe you, dear readers, have an idea why.

1 comment:

  1. My guess is a combination.. plus not wanting to offend anyone.

    JW's aren't the only ones who cut out other holidays. When I was in college I heard a lot of coC arguments against Christmas and Easter (not bdays though lol). Most of the people still celebrated them, but officially its not encouraged and they would argue it even while going against it.

    Personally I'm looking forward to Halloween lol. I'd like to do more of the All Saints Day stuff, but hubby's not on board. We comprimised at me cutting certain options out for the kids. No devils, witches, etc. Ghosts and skeletons I'm cool with... Things that are evil... not so much. And I have a witch in the family so that one is a diff story, but it would take forever to explain my reasoning there lol.

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