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the dark side of halloween

Christian eBook Publisher

Perfect Theology:
Is There Anything Holy About Halloween? Part 1

Halloween was one of my favorite times of the year. Not because I liked witches or even pumpkins. I liked taffy apples and sweets. Even as a broken, working-class family, we lived in an upscale community. Rich people abound. That meant nice treats. 

I never cared for the dark side, however. 

Vowing by faith to follow Christ, the celebrations turned from Halloween to Harvest Fests, the church substitute. Knowing what I know now, while I understand we are living in the age of grace, should I be mastered by the flesh and desire to do anything more than pray fervently on this eve? 

To answer my question, I needed further understanding of the holiday. That set me to surfing the internet. 

I had long forgotten that this date goes back to the Druids and the Celts. It spread to mainland Europe centuries later and landed in America during the Melting Pot era, with the influx of Irish immigrants.

The people were superstitious and believed that on this day the spirits of the dead, or nearly dead, roamed unchained and could menace in the affairs of the living, even violently. In order to assure that the sun would shine again in the coming spring, the Celtic priests, or druids, had to appease the gods. They did this through sacrifice, usually from their halloween haunted house harvest or cattle, but sometimes with human sacrifice. The word bonfire is derived from “bone fire.” This fire was set alight with timber and animal bones; sometimes human bones were included. After this day the fires were to be put out, except those of the druids. A levy was charged to any family who relit theirs. The fires were then kept burning through the winter. It wasn’t until the 17th Century that the human sacrifices were done away with.

How did our present day Halloween traditions take shape? How long ago did people dress as witches, carve pumpkins and go out trick-or-treating?

By the middle of the 1st Century AD, the Romans had conquered much of Ireland. They never tried to abolish such festivals, instead, they implemented their own celebration of Feralia. This was the day they set apart to pray to their gods for the peace of their departed loved ones, and to make sacrifices in honor of them. 

Another holiday the Romans celebrated was to the goddess Pomona. Her symbol was the apple, as she reigned over the harvest and the trees. Here is where bobbing for apples began on Halloween, as the Romans combined this holiday. It is believed that during Samhain, single people bobbed for apples and the one that emerged first with an apple in their mouth and no teeth marks would peel the apple and instantly turn around to see an apparition of whom they would marry.

Written by Jori Sams


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