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Friday, October 30, 2009

Embracing All Hallow's Eve

My husband and I have decided that, whatever the original basis for this holiday (a debate in itself), since it has been a Christian Holy Day since the 9th century (actually as early as the 4th century, but on another day of the year before it was transferred to Nov 1st) we are going to continue to celebrate All Hallow's Eve, or Halloween.

We will carve our pumpkin tomorrow and roast the seeds.
Our kids will dress up as Rambo, a Native American, the Little Mermaid, and a Flower. I'll sit on the front porch enjoying talking with the neighbors as they shepherd their little masqueraders around. Hubby will take to the streets with our gang catching up with some of our neighbors, including those we only see on this night. (Ah, modern life!)

The kids will return with smeared face paint, pounds of candy, and funny stories to tell about the Fun and Spooky house one neighbor runs each year. (The people who run that house are considered the nicest in the neighborhood by all the kids!) We'll talk about some of the scary costumes they saw and some of the funny ones. And we'll have a chance to talk about our victory over death and all the evil of the world, and why we take this night to poke a little fun at that which, as Christians, ultimately has no dominion over us. But also about the reality of evil in this world and our need to keep our guard up.

Many Christians will not agree with us, and that is OK. I'm not going to try to convince you one way or the other, but if you are interested in reading some of the reasons Christians choose to continue celebrating Halloween, read on . . .

"Thus, the festivities on All Hallow's Eve were the Christian's way of laughing at death and evil, something we can do in certain hope of Christ's victory over the powers of darkness. The Church for centuries, however, has seen All Hallow's Eve not as a glorification of evil, but as a chance to affirm eternal life in the face of the death of our mortal bodies. Just as Easter is a celebration of Jesus' victory over death and evil, so is Halloween!"

"At the end of the third century and the beginning of the fourth the most vicious of all persecutions occurred, that of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). The martyrs became so many that in some places it was impossible to commemorate even the most significant of them. The need for a common feast of all martyrs was becoming evident. This common feast became a reality in some places, but on various dates, as early as the middle of the fourth century."

A North Carolina Homeschooling mother I'd really like to meet, Sally Thomas, and one of my favorite First Things contributors offers her thoughts on The Drama of Hallowmas:

"To step outside on Halloween dressed as someone—or something—other than yourself is to step into a narrative that acknowledges that the membrane between our workaday, material world and the unseen realm of spirits is far thinner and more permeable than many of us like to think."

iMonk has a provocative post (My Annual Halloween Rant):

"It bothers me that the Biblical message about Satan would be co-opted by the fear-mongering and manipulation of the hucksters. (Read The Screwtape Letters for some real Satanism.)"

"Particularly painful for many of us are the escalating attacks of religious people on the realm of the imagination. We have suffered from those who see the imagination as a gateway of evil, rather than a canvas on which human nature itself paints the picture. We have been blamed for violence and even death, things we would not even know were it not for human beings investing us with those actions in their own minds. It is as if some religious people actually believe that we exist- that we are real and were somehow a threat to them."

What are you doing for Halloween?

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Emily said...

Great post! I linked you.

DebD said...

what a great post! We have family movie night on Halloween. We hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Sometimes the younger ones dress up, because that is the fun part. Of course, we must all test the candy before it goes out ;)

Amy said...

I look forward to reading some of your links! I have a post about 3/4 finished on All Hallow's Eve and All Saints Day but just looks like it won't get done in time, as it seems all my posts have been these days.

All Hallow's Eve/All Saints Day was the first I think of us as celebrating in our "Domestic Church." (Of course, we always celebrated Easter and Christmas so they don't seem to count in the same way!!) Over 6 years ago, we had stopped attending the Episcopal church b/c of problems with orthodoxy so I began doing searches online about celebrating at home and was introduced into a whole new way of living out the faith and celebrating feasts not just at church but at home as a family (our first born was only 10 months old!!). So this night is very special to me. Have you read any of the Litany of Saints at the bottom of this page:

I like it because it doesn't fall into the category of praying to the saints as some All Saints litanies do. I thought (since some of the choices on the list seem a bit odd) it would be a fun activity for children to think of who they thought should on the list, both living and past!

Well, thanks for posting. Warm wishes!!

Jacquelin said...

Great post! I linked your post too.

MomCO3 said...

Ohh, Kerry, I love how you phrased that: "And we'll have a chance to talk about our victory over death and all the evil of the world, and why we take this night to poke a little fun at that which, as Christians, ultimately has no dominion over us." Amen!

Dana Prescott said...

I am a stranger to you, but follow your blog because of CC. Thanks for that by the way.
I love to celebrate this Holiday. Mainly because of the great lessons we can learn from the harvest. We grow pumpkins, carve them, roast the seeds and then keep the pulp and cook with that too!!
I chose this time of the year to teach my chlidren the law of the harvest and there are so many opportunities for doing that at this time of year.
I also appreciate what the people of Argentina do (I learned while living there) they celebrate Dia de los muertos (day of the dead) much like our memorial day but they do a much better job. All week they honor loved ones who have passed on. Another great things to focus on during this Holiday.

hillary@dark :: light said...

What grace you show. Thank you for this post. I will come back often to referenced this as well as read your other work. Have a blessed weekend!

GrandmaK said...

A very nice place to visit!! I did so enjoy this post! Cathy