Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Putting the Hallow Back in Hallowe'en

Sophia choosing her pumpkin, October 2008.

The air is getting chilly. The leaves are beginning to turn. Pumpkins and Indian corn are cropping up at all the local farms. And Christians across America are beginning to grow uneasy as Hallowe’en approaches. The day of the Great Pumpkin has become an occasion for the Great Debate about whether or not to celebrate this increasingly secularized—and increasingly macabre—holiday. Sometimes though, in the “to dress as a witch or not to dress as a witch” debate, we lose sight of the fact that whether or not we celebrate Hallowe’en in a secular or pseudo-secular manner, we Christians are meant to celebrate it together as a holy vigil!

Sadly, many Christians have no idea how to celebrate Hallowe’en as Christians. As is the case with many religious holidays, the traditional celebration of Hallowe’en has been usurped by commercialization and secular custom. Because of this confusion, some join wholeheartedly in the secular celebration, while others shun the day entirely, locking their doors and switching off their porch lights in protest. But, I believe that, as with so many things, there is a moderate approach. Not only is there a way to celebrate Hallowe’en that is line with the teaching of the Church, Hallowe’en can actually be a marvelous tool for evangelism!

5 comments:

  1. I've done some (not extensive mind you) research on the major holidays that we celebrate, and unfortunately, most of them originate from pagan origins. If this is the case (that certain holidays have their background in paganism), why would any Christian want to indulge in those activities?

    I'm not trying to be a stickler about these things, but I'm just not seeing how a Christian should really involve him or herself in something that in fact could be pagan in origin.

    Maybe I need to do some more research regarding the origins of Halloween . . .

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  2. That is one of my absolute favorite pictures of Sophia ever. Thanks for re-posting it!

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  3. Mrs. Lady Sophia- Some Hallowe'en traditions do harken back to Northern European "end of summer" and "day of the dead" festivals, such as the Celtic Samhain. However, All Hallow's Eve is a strictly Christian holiday, which incidentally was originally celebrated in May. Of course, there is no reason to participate in the more secular customs if you are uncomfortable, but for Catholics, All Saints' Day (for which Hallowe'en in the vigil) is actually a Holy Day of Obligation!

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  4. I'm hanging my head in shame over my witch hat right now. ;o) That is more than a little pagan!

    I really enjoyed your article, Bethany, and am going to share the link with several people who will be blessed by your writing as well.

    Earlier this year, while clicking through flickr pics, I came across a lovely Christ-centered pumpkin from last year's Halloween. On the pumpkin was a cross surrounded by carvings that made the pumpkin looked lit up from within in a way that puts most pumpkins to shame. IIRC this may have been in Emma@Charming The Birds... photo set. Her entire photo set is lovely and has brought me much inspiration in celebrating the Christian feast days and making seasonal displays for our. Do check out her pics if you have a few moments! :o)

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  5. Oh, Amy, no worries :) And, I love Emma's site, but I don't remember this pumpkin. I will have to go check it out.

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