Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween: A Pagan Holiday?

Happy Halloween!  Usually we celebrate it by going door to door asking for donations to UNICEF, but this year we're all under the weather so it really depends on if Hubby, the only one not superly sick, wants to undertake this excursion and knowing him...well, let's just say it's highly unlikely.  If my husband had his way, our house would be spic and span but we'd never go anywhere....ever.  In case you're worried.  I have come out the other side of the stomach flu but have been hit with a second punch, this time a cold, that I caught from the kids.  So between the two, it's only today that I felt like leaving the couch.

And of course since it's that time of year all the very conservative fundamentalist/evangelicals are out on a rampage against it.  *sigh*

Halloween isn't a pagan holiday.  There is some thought that there is a connection to pagan holidays but as I've mentioned before Christmas and Easter also have roots in paganism.  There are only so many calendar days in a year. 

Halloween, like Christmas means Christ's Mass, means All Hallow's Eve.  In other words it's the night before All Saints Day, which is a Catholic holiday.

It's been commercialized beyond it's original roots just like St. Nick suddenly has been transferred to Santa Clause giving gifts on Christmas.

That does not however make it a pagan holiday.

The origins of trick-or-treating are said to come from Europe, where the particularly the poor would go out and ask for soul cakes the night before All Saint's Day/All Soul's Day in exchange for praying for those in purgatory.

You can take the holiday back and not go commercialized.   You can take up donations for UNICEF, just like the soul cakes were for the poor.  You can dress up as a saint or what a saint is the patron of (say doctors or bumble bees).  You can go to Mass.  You can go and light a candle.  There are many ways to celebrate the holiday without turning it into a ghoul fest or automatically labeling it as paganistic.

So I wish everyone a happy, popular Catholic holiday.  Happy Halloween!  And prayers for those on the east coast who may also not be able to get out there and enjoy it either.


  1. I kind of consider it both, mostly because, going to college, one of my best friends was Wiccan and Samhuinn was a big deal for them as a pagan holiday. But of course it's also All Soul's Day and I have no problem celebrating that at all!

  2. I think it's become increasingly ghoulish over the years. I understand the roots lie in trying to deceive evil spirits into not harming people by dressing up as evil spirits. Your UNICEF idea is fab though - might borrow that one one day.


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