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History has recorded for us the origin of Halloween. It all begins with a people known as the Celts. These people dominated much of western and central Europe in the first millennium BC. It is believed they settled in the British Isles about the seventh century BC. Their economy was pastoral and agricultural, and they had no rural life. Each tribe was headed by a king and was divided by class into Druids (priests), warrior nobles and commoners.
    In general, the Celts believed that the sinful souls of those who died during the year had been transferred to the bodies of animals. They believed that their sins could be expiated by gifts and offerings and that their souls would be freed to claim a heavenly reward. At this time of the year the days are short and the Celts simulated the light and heat of the sun by building large bonfires.
    From Celtic and Anglo-Saxon times, October 31 was observed as the eve of the new year and a time of death and renewal.
Druidism is a religious faith of ancient Celtic inhabitants of Gaul and the British Isles from the second century BC to the second century AD. This religion included the belief in the immortal soul, which at death was believed to pass into the body of a newborn child.
    The observances connected with Halloween are thought to have originated among the ancient Druids, who believed on that evening (October 31) Saman (Samhain), the lord of the dead, called forth hosts of evil spirits. The Druids customarily lit great fires on Halloween, apparently for the purpose of warding off all these spirits. Common to both the Druids and other pagan beliefs, it was a time when the dead came back to life to mingle with the living. Samhain was thought to be the judge of the souls who determined their future.
    Celebrations, The Complete Book of American Holidays, p. 258, says that at this time the Druids offered sacrifices to their sun god and that “it was common for horses to be sacrificed since they were sacred to the Sun God. There were also human sacrifices. Men, mostly criminals, were imprisoned in wicker and thatch cages shaped like animals or giants. The Druid priests set fire to the tindery cages and the men were burned to death. In the Middle Ages in Europe, black cats were still being thrown to the flames in wicker cages, for they were thought to be the friends of witches or even transformed witches.”
    What we now call Halloween was not so-called by the Druids. They celebrated what was called the Feast of Samhain. When the feast was over, villagers donned masks and costumes to represent the souls of the dead and paraded to the outskirts of town to lead the ghosts away.
    In some areas, food was set outside for the spirits so that they would leave the house untouched. The trick-or-treat custom of today only reenacts this ancient superstition.
Catholic Church Involvement
The celebration in the Roman Catholic Church, which would later merge with the Feast of Samhain, was known as All Saints’ Day. This celebration “originated in the 7th century when the Pantheon at Rome was wrested from the barbarians, made into a cathedral, and renamed the Church of the Blessed Virgin and All Martyrs. Thus, from honoring all gods (which is the meaning of the Greek word ‘pantheon’) the Pantheon became the center for glorifying all saints,” Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 363.
    To increase the popularity of catholicism (increase their membership) the Catholic Church merely incorporated these pagan beliefs into the catholic beliefs.
    Even though this day to honor all “the holy saints” was originally observed on the eve of May 13, Pope Gregory IV, in 835, decreed that November 1 should be universally observed as the day to honor the deadand to call it the Roman Catholic All Saints Day. This is why October 31 is called “Halloween”. It is the evening before the day when one was to hallow all the saints.
The use of large, or small, pumpkins, with a somewhat grotesque face carved on it, is representative of Samhain, the god of the dead, who would ward off evil spirits that night.
    The phrase “jack-o-lantern” comes from an old Irish tale. It seems an Irishman by the name of Jack was fond of playing tricks on the devil. Being annoyed by this, the devil threw Jack a live coal from hell and with this coal in a carved out pumpkin Jack was forced to walk the earth forever.
The word “witch” comes from the Anglo- Saxon “wicce” meaning “wise one.” Witches are said to use living talismans through which they derive their mystical powers. Witch hunting during “Halloween” became almost a national pastime in the early colonial times.
    The ABC’s of Witchcraft, pp. 48, report that the broomstick is a symbol of the male organ on which the witch mounts and leaps high around the fields to “teach” the crops how high to grow.
    The skeleton is called the witches’ “horned god.” Under “skull,” the Dictionary of Lore and Legend says, “symbol of death, often with crossed bones beneath.” Like the head of Osiris in Egypt, the skulls of ancestors are worshipped in order to establish connections with the spirits of the dead.
    But the scriptures give a strong warning about this.
    When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their Elohim? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? (Isa. 8:19-20, NIV)
Webster defines Halloween as “the evening of October 31; the eve of All Saints’ Day; All hallows Eve: observed especially by children in costumes who solicit treats, often by threatening minor pranks.” Have not most of us heard the phrase “trick or treat” uttered by children on this day? One can easily observe parents driving their children from block to block so they can go door to door uttering this phrase in hopes of receiving candy and goodies from people.
    Webster places the following definition on the phrase “trick or treat”: “A children’s Halloween custom, in which they call on neighbors, using this phrase, and threaten to play a trick if a treat is not given.” Is it children only who follow this custom? If one is truly observant, one will see young adults doing the same. Is this not extortion?
    Webster defines extortion as an act or instance of wresting or wringing (money, information, etc.) from a person by violence, intimidation, or abuse of authority.
    On this day when a homeowner opens the front door and hears the chant “trick-or-treat” doesn’t he quickly reach for the bowl of prepared treats to give away? The homeowner may simply believe no harm will be done if he gives free gifts. But, by doing so he only promotes the celebration of the pagan beliefs of setting out gifts to ward off the evil spirits.
Let The Scriptures Be Our Guide
Many parents will say to let their children go out on Halloween night and enjoy some innocent fun. They’re not hurting anyone. Can the origins of Halloween be anything but pagan? Allowing children to participate is nothing short of saying pagan ways are all right. But doesn’t Yahweh say in Jer. 10:2,
    Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
    Yahweh further says in Deut. 18:12-13:
    For all that do these things are an abomination unto Yahweh: and because of these abominations Yahweh your Elohim does drive them out from before you. You shall be perfect with Yahweh your Elohim.
    We are to strive towards perfection. We shall not achieve perfection until Yahshua returns to set up the Kingdom. Matthew 5:48 says,
    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
    Just because an act seems innocent in no way guarantees Yahweh’s approval. Halloween is just another occasion enshrouded with pagan connections.
-Elder Roger G. Meyer

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