The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
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Themes Archive

What Does Halloween Mean to You?
    Annualy, at the beginning of November, the so-called christian nations, celebrates “Day of the Dead” or otherwise called “All saints day”. In other parts of the globe, this celebration, with the same meaning, takes another look: it is called Halloween and it is celebrated at the end of October. Its features distinguish it from any other day of the year: wreaths of flowers, rush at the cemeteries, lit candles or lamps, prayers for the dead, or, in another way, it is seen by witch costumes, ghosts, goblins, carved pumpkins, stories about the return of the spirits of the dead and many other things. Regardless of religious rituals that adorn this event, have we wondered if "the practices of this day really keep Christianity? Are all these things approved by God? What does it means all these things for me?”.

    What Does it Mean This Day?

    Halloween actually means Hallow Even or the Eve of All Hallows. In the eighth century Pope Gregory III established November 1 as the date for a feast to honor all the saints, it being called All Saints’ Day. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, it is a feast of the highest rank. Since all saints are considered hallowed people, the eve of the feast in their behalf came to be called Eve of All Hallows, or, for short, Halloween.
    In the United States October 31 is Halloween night, a time for fun, boisterousness and playing pranks. It has been called the worst night of the year for vandalism, when both young and old run wild. In Latin-American countries November 2 is the day celebrated, but in a much different way. November 2 is the day of the Roman Catholic festival All Souls’ Day, which dates from about the eleventh century. This festival is based on the belief that the souls of the dead can be aided in getting out of purgatory to reach heaven by the prayers and alms-deeds of the faithful on earth. Therefore at this festival, referred to as the Day of the Dead and occurring the day after All Saints’ Day, people visit the graves of loved ones and offer prayers and alms in their behalf.

    Halloween and the Bible

    Does Halloween mean to you honoring dead saints and commemorating the departed by praying for their souls? Although Halloween and its associated festivals are religious feasts of Christendom in honor and in behalf of the dead, where is the Scriptural precedent for them? None can be found. When Cornelius fell at the feet of the apostle Peter to give honor to him, Peter did not approve, but said, “Rise; I myself am also a man.” Even when the apostle John fell down to worship an angel, he was rebuked: “Be careful! Do not do that! . . . Worship God,” was the angel’s command. (Acts 10:26; Rev. 19:10) The apostle Paul also warned about being deprived of the prize of life by men who would sponsor “a form of worship of the angels.” Wisely Christians avoid any celebration that is for the purpose of honoring anyone except God.—Col. 2:18.
    The Bible teaches: “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (Ezek. 18:4) Since the souls of the dead are not alive, it is impossible for them to be helped by the prayers of those on earth; therefore the festival All Souls’ Day is not founded on a Scriptural basis and shows lack of faith in God’s Word.
    The Bible also teaches: “Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it.” (Prov. 22:6) How can this scripture be harmonized with the Halloween practice of ‘tricking or treating’? It may appear cute to have youngsters call at homes with the requesting threat, “Trick or treat,” but is it cute when they grow older and threaten people with violence if they do not pay what they ask? Is this Halloween practice bringing up a child in the right way, or is it directing him toward an unchristian course of vandalism and crime?

    Rooted in Paganism

    Halloween’s roots, although not found in the Bible, can be traced back to a pagan origin. The pre-Christian Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all celebrated a festival for the dead. These ancients believed that on these occasions the spirits of the dead returned; therefore food was left for them and lamps were kept burning so they would not lose their way.
    The Celtic order of Druids worshiped Samhain, lord of the dead, as well as a sun-god to whom the horse was sacred. On November 1, which was also their New Year, they held a joint festival in honor of these gods. It was believed that the souls of those who had died the previous year because of their sins were confined to the bodies of lower animals, and at the time of this festival Samhain assembled them together, and they were released to go to the Druid heaven. On the eve of the feast of Samhain the pagan Celts used to keep bonfires burning, believing that this would protect them from evil spirits.
    The many features of today’s Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations can be traced directly back to paganism. The ancients associated this time of the year with the supernatural and with the thronging of dead spirits, so it was right in line with Catholic church policy to adopt this date for their All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day. The people were thus able to keep their pagan customs and beliefs and still celebrate what are called Christian festivals of the highest rank. But the varnish applied by Christendom to these pagan feasts is so thin that there is no questioning the fact that Halloween is rooted in paganism.

    What Halloween Means to a Christian?

    It is interesting to note that the Protestant Reformation was touched off on Halloween night. How so? Martin Luther, knowing it was the custom of the people to flock to the Palace Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on the eve of All Saints, picked that night to nail his ninety-five theses to its door. On reading them, the people’s smoldering resentment against the Catholic church burst into flames. Many pagan practices were cast off by the reformers, the celebration of Allhallows Eve being one of them.
    How about Christians today, how should they view Halloween? Christians will be motivated by Scriptural principle and not by human reasoning. One can be sure that Christ Jesus, who always stuck close to what the Bible said, would heed the divine commands: “You must not walk in the statutes of the nations.” “Do not learn the way of the nations at all.” (Lev. 20:23; Jer. 10:2) Jesus was never influenced by human reasoning into compromising on Scriptural commands! Therefore, neither will a Christian today compromise, even if it means being different and separate from the world.
    Early Christians followed Jesus’ steps closely. They heeded the command: “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. . . . ‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing.’” (2 Cor. 6:14, 17) Edward Gibbon in the book Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Vol. I, pages 396, 397) says that early Christians took no part in “the games that the prince and people celebrated in honour of their peculiar festivals . . . The Christian, on these interesting occasions, was compelled to desert the persons who were the dearest to him, rather than contract the guilt inherent to those impious ceremonies . . . The dangerous temptations which on every side lurked in ambush to surprise the unguarded believer assailed him with redoubled violence on the days of solemn festivals.”
    Although Halloween poses as a Christian holiday, it is exposed as a pagan feast!
    Although this day of celebration seems to be attractive through its practices, it promotes the lie uttered by the serpent in Eden, namely the doctrine of soul’s immortality. Christian is advised to love his neighbours as long as they are alive and not to worship people.

    Ecclesiastes 9:5 ”For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.”
    Psalms 115:17,18 “The dead praise not Jehovah, Neither any that go down into silence; But we will bless Jehovah From this time forth and for evermore. Praise ye Jehovah!”