History of Halloween: Is It Satanic
The Controversy of Halloween
Recently, there have been many YouTube and Facebook posts talking about how individuals who celebrate Halloween are sinners and it is a form of worship that steer people away from God and some use it as a form of worship to Satan. But who is right?
Personally, my family celebrates Halloween by having a non-religious holiday to enjoy our communities with. Soccer clubs, Girl Scouts, friends and family, as well as the small community where the 120 year old building that we transform into a haunted house resides. Our focus is to enjoy others and have fun, dance, food, and a safe environment for those who wish to attend.
My family believes in God, but Halloween is an enjoyment holiday that welcomes those who don't mind a little mystery and darkness, much like life. This year there was one 10 year old that was a little nervous to walk the haunted house, and his teammates surrounded him, bolstering his courage and talking words of support to him. It was a great moment to see the team coming together to support a teammate. These are some of the moments that we put the effort into a haunted house for.
Do not discount that there are those that may take Halloween too far, but that is with anything in life. An argument could be made that the same statements that holidays take away from God. Christmas would be an example of this.
As with everything in life, our perspective has a great deal to do with our reality. If people want to decree something being good or bad, then that is their opinion. I would rather see community and people coming together to enjoy each other, than creating a wedge between people and distancing people from each other.
Would you be shocked to know that Halloween actually originates from ancients times to scare away evil spirits? With the controversy that Halloween brings to some, it may be shocking that Halloween originates from a festival called Samhain ("sow-win").
This was a festival that said farewell to the harvest, fall, and acknowledged the beginning of the "dark half of the year", or winter. While the community was out harvesting, they would let the fires in their hearths go out for the day. Druids would light a bonfire with a friction wheel that represented the sun. The people would take part of this bonfire back to their hearths and light a fire with it. This was suppose to usher in good luck and help avoid illness and death for the dark half of the year, what we call Winter in the mid-West.
This festival did have cows sacrificed, and offerings of parts of the harvest. All of these were kept outside of town because fairies called Sidhs, Pukah, and the Lady Gwen with her black pig.
People did wear animal heads and skins to disguise themselves from monsters from the Otherworld. Preventing themselves from being kidnapped, but allowing them to commune with their ancestors at the same time. Some of the monsters involved in hunting and kidnapping people during this time were the Dullahan (pronounced DOOL-a-HAN) and the Faery Host.
You may recognize the Dullahan from other stories from your childhood. The Dullahan, also called "Gan Ceann" meaning "without a head" in Irish, would appear as headless horseman riding a horse with fire for eyes and if a person would see them, it was an omen of death for them. Almost always depicted as male, but there are several female versions out there.
Where the rider stopped meant that someone close would die, and if the rider said your name then it would tear the person's spirit from their body and they would drop dead. Some rode in carriages with skulls with candles in them to light the way, the wheels made from thigh bones and covered with human skin. A whip made from the spine of a human, and the headless body holding its head, which had the tone and coloring of moldy cheese. It's eyes moving back and forth always looking around searching for those to die. This is a little more specific and scary than most of the stories of the Headless Horseman.
There were two ways to kill a Dullahan, one was to kill the body and head at the same time and the other was to return the Dullahan's head from its corpse. Both would be extremely hard to accomplish.
The Faery Host, also called "Sluagh Sidhe", are a distinct form of sidhe that traveled in the air and would snatch mortals up and take them. Many stated that there were categories of sidhe that corresponded with each element. This gives a tie into the European nymphs. And another blending of concepts between cultures that extend into the modern era.
Samhain is the threshold to the Season of Death. The fertile fields of summer give way to the bare forests of autumn. As crops slowly die and winter takes over, the cycle of life is once again approaching a renewal.— Dacha Avelin
During Samhain, it was not uncommon to dress in animal skin and wear skulls. This was not to be gruesome, but to disguise oneself and avoid being kidnapped from sidhe and other Otherworlders. A tradition that has its roots in survival.
This has ties into our modern tradition of costumes, although we push the limits more and have made Halloween much more secular. Another tradition that we carry today that has parallels in Samhain.
Turnips and Pumpkins
Jack-o-lanterns actually started out as turnips during the Middle Ages. These turnips would be carved and coal placed inside of them. Sounds much like the carved pumpkins of today, doesn't it? It was actually the Irish who changed from using turnips to carving pumpkins.
Mumming was the practice of going door-to-door and singing for people. As a reward for the singing, small cakes were given to the singers. These singers did dress up in their animal skins and skulls in order to avoid detection from the faeries and spirits. And this is the time that tricks were also played on members of the community, and these tricks were often blamed on the faeries that were near.
These practices may remind you of people going Caroling during the Christmas season, giving cakes to the people going door-to-door is inline with handing candy out for Halloween, and these small tricks that the "faeries" played on people brings to mind the saying "Trick or Treat".
Christianity and Samhain
In the 9th century, Christianity introduced two holidays during the same time as Samhain. November 1st became All Saints' Day and November 2nd became All Souls' Day. These two were started by Pope Gregory.
It was during this time that Samhain may have changed slightly and the name All Hallows Eve came about. Later the more popular name of Halloween would replace All Hallows Eve almost completely.
Do Not Celebrate Halloween
For those out there who say, "Don't celebrate Halloween because it worships other things besides God." After researching Halloween, Samhain, All Hallows Eve, etc. I would have to say that there is no worshiping of anything during this holiday.
From its roots as a transitional period of the year to the more secular holiday of the current era, there has not been evidence for any of the reasons I have seen about why Halloween is so bad. Misguided persecution and supportive social views often allow people to give a stronger voice to many topics. Because of this, we need to follow through with our due diligence and research what we want to talk about even more.
My family will continue to celebrate Halloween, for the fun, joy, and community that it brings to us and those who celebrate with us. When it is time for God to judge me, I do not believe this will be one of my sins but I will have created many positive memories from this holiday.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Chris Samhain