AUTHOR: Unknown
PUBLISHED ON: May 2, 2003
TAGS: Halloween

WHAT IS HALLOWEEN REALLY ALL ABOUT???  Have you ever thought about this? Have you  ever asked yourself, “Who in the world ever thought of the idea of walking around in  weird costumes, trick-or-treating, and/or putting a carved-out pumpkin in your  window?”  You will agree with me that Halloween is really one of the strangest days  in the year, is it not? Perhaps you wonder how the celebration of such a day ever  got started. In this pamphlet I would like to answer this question for you!  WHERE  AND WHEN DID THE HALLOWEEN CUSTOMS ORIGINATE?  The many customs we have today in  relation to Halloween have their origin in the religious practices of the Romans and  the Druids, therefore dating back many centuries. The Romans worshipped various  gods, and on October 31, a special feast was held in honor of Pomona, goddess of the  fruit trees. Later the Druids, an ancient order of Celtic priests in Britain, made  this feast an even more extensive celebration by also honoring Samhain, lord of the  dead. This was normally done on November 1 and it was therefore decided to  conveniently honor both Pomona and Samhain on October 31 and November 1.  These  Druids believed that on the night before November (October  31), Samhain called  together wicked souls or spirits which had been condemned to live in the bodies of  animals during the year which had just transpired. Since they were afraid of these  spirits, they chose October 31 as a day of sacrifice to their gods, hoping they  would protect them. They really believed that on this day they were surrounded by  strange spirits, ghosts, witches, fairies, and elves, who came out to hurt them. In  addition to this, they also believed that cats were holy animals, as they considered  them to represent people who lived formerly, and as punishment for evil deeds were  reincarnated as a cat. All this explains why witches, ghosts, and cats are part of  Halloween today.  The custom of trick-or-treating and the use of “jack-o'-lanterns”  comes from Ireland. Hundreds of years ago, Irish farmers went from house to house,  begging for food, in the name of their ancient gods, to be used at the village  Halloween celebration. They would promise good luck to those who gave them food, and  made threats to those who refused to give. They simply told the people, “You treat  me, or else I will trick you!”  The apparently harmless lighted pumpkin face of  “jack-o'-lantern” actually is an old Irish symbol of a damned soul. A man named Jack  was supposed to be unable to enter heaven due to his miserliness, and unable to  enter hell because he had played practical jokes on the devil. As a result, he was  condemned to wander over the earth with his lantern until judgment day (i.e., the  end of the world). The Irish were so afraid that they would receive an identical  plight, that they began to hollow out pumpkins and place lighted candles inside to  scare away evil spirits from their homes.  WHEN DID THE CELEBRATION OF HALLOWEEN, AS  WE KNOW IT TODAY, BEGIN?  During the Middle Ages (about 600 years ago), the Roman  Catholic Church at that time, decided to make the changeover from pagan religion to  Christianity a bit easier, and therefore allowed the new converts to maintain some  of their pagan feasts. It was agreed, however, that from now on they would be  celebrated as “Christian” feasts. So instead of praying to their heathen gods, they  would now pray to, and remember the death of saints. For this reason the church  decided to call November 1 the “Day of All Saints,” and the mass to be celebrated on  that day “Alhallow mass.” In consequence of this, the evening prior to this day was  named, “All Hallowed Evening,” which subsequently was abbreviated as “Halloween.” In  spite of this effort to make October 31 a “holy evening,” all the old customs  continued to be practiced, and made this evening anything but a holy evening!   HALLOWEEN TODAY  You would have to agree with me that also today Halloween is most  definitely not a holy evening!! This annual event is far from the harmless, innocent  tradition it is promoted to be. Many dread this “holy” evening as they think what  could happen to them, their property, and/or their children! Consistent with its  historical roots, this evening is characterized by fear, and frequently arouses  dormant fears in many. The fear generated by this event is symbolic of the fear  which plagues so many in our modern, morally bankrupt world. It is a gripping fear  for an unknown and very threatening future, a fear caused by a gnawing, inner  emptiness.  AN NATIVE FOR OCTOBER 31  For many in this land, this day  stands for the very opposite of fear! On this day in 1517, a German monk and  professor of theology, Dr. Martin Luther, courageously published the simple,  straightforward truth of the Bible, God's Word, which he had rediscovered after a  long and intense spiritual struggle. God used the truth of His own Word to give  Luther the inner peace he had so desperately longed for. The Bible pointed him the  way to God Himself, and when he found God through Jesus Christ, he found this peace  which passes all understanding! He himself states that it was as if he entered  Paradise itself.  As a result of his courageous act on October 31, 1517, which  earned him the wrath of the church, the Bible came into the hands of the common  people again, and many, who as he, were deeply troubled by sin and its consequences,  found peace with God as well!  It was God Himself, Who used Martin Luther to bring  His message of deliverance into the hands and hearts of sinners, in order to bring  them back to Himself, and give them true peace! It is therefore with deep gratitude  to God that we wish to commemorate October 31, as it reminds us of God's gracious  and mighty deed years ago.  It is the Word of God, and its precious truth,  rediscovered by Martin Luther, which still gives true peace to many today. In the  bible alone will you find the only answer to the deep yearning of your heart. Only  when God becomes your God, through Jesus Christ, will you find rest at last and you  will answer to the true purpose of human existence, namely, to honor, serve, and  enjoy our Creator!   Is the God of heaven and earth your God? If not, seek Him  today, while He still may be found!  God, manifested in Jesus Christ, invites you  Himself in His Word. Turn to the gospel of Matthew and read chapter 11:28: “Come  unto  me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Those  who insist on seeking inner peace without being reconciled to God through Jesus  Christ, will have to endure eternal misery without God. God does not desire the  eternal misery of man and therefore He also extends this invitation in Ezekiel  33:11, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked  [i.e., sinner] but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from  your evil ways: for why will ye die?”   _________________________________________________________________  Article under review

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