Happy Halloween, all!
I see this time of year, many Protestant churches having "Harvestfests" or "Harvest Festivals." Indeed, the mother's club in my neighborhood hosts a party for the kids with the same name, since a member of long ago objected vehemently to "honoring" Halloween, since - in her opinion - it is "the Devil's holiday."
As any good Catholic should know - and as I made sure my kids group at church knows - Halloween is a linguistic corruption of "Hallow's Eve" - the eve of All Hallows or All Saints Day on November 1st.
But why the ghosts and goblins? The Irish (God bless us) had some old Celtic superstitions left over from before the Light of Christ was brought to that island. The Celtic pagans at this same time of the year celebrated their festival of Samhain, which marked the last harvest for the season and the end of their year. It was believed by the pagans that on Samhain, the veil between this life and the afterlife is at its thinnest, so it was a time for scrivening, divination, and having a chat-up with yer dead Granny.
As the people embraced Christianity, superstitions were raised that the Devil was not happy to see old pagan ways go by the wayside (although many exist with us today, but we'll discuss Jungian archetypes at a later time) and so would try to raise some hell on the eve of the new holiday - All Hallows.
To make a long story short, Halloween was seen as a night the Devil tried to restore paganism - and each year, gets soundly defeated with the dawning of All Saints Day, only to be further aggravated by the next day, All Souls Day, when we remember our dead with prayer and petitions.
And to make my point, if it were not for the Church and the establishment of All Saints Day, there would be no Halloween. So when I see a "Harvest Festival" at a local Protestant church, I wonder how many, if they knew the Catholic origins of Halloween, would knowingly nod and say, "It figures . . ."
Ah well - our gain, their loss. I hope everyone has a fun-filled Halloween, and have blessed memories of the Saints and saints in the days that follow. I will put my ofrenda for Day of the Dead to honor my loved ones (I much prefer that to fake graveyards and scary scenarios) and celebrate the Catholic traditions of the season.