Hey Trick or Treaters: It’s Really a Holy DayOctober 29, 2010 - 6:05 AM | by: Greg Burke
It’s the end of a October, and the witches and goblins will be out soon. But is Halloween a pagan holiday?
Historians have said that Halloween originated from the Ancient Celtic pagan holiday called Samhain, also called the “Day of the Dead.” They believed that on this day the souls of the dead were allowed access into the “land of the dead.”
The name Halloween is derived from “All Hallows Eve,” or the night preceding “All Saint’s (Hallows’) Day.”
Catholic bishops in the UK are reminding trick or treaters of this relationship with the Holy Day. They’re backing an initiative called “Night of Light,” which encourages Christians to place a light in their window on Halloween to give witness that they are followers of Jesus Christ.
The “Night of Light” is the inspiration of Damian Stayne, who says it is meant to “reclaim Halloween as a joyful Christian celebration.”
Stayne points out that Halloween or “All Hallows Eve” is the vigil, or the night before the Feast of All Saints. November 1, All Saints Day, is a holiday in most Catholic countries.
All Saints Day, Stayne says, is the “feast in which Catholics celebrate the glory of God in his saints, the victory of light over darkness in the lives of God’s holy ones in heaven.”
Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton notes that Halloween is the biggest commercial festival after Christmas and Easter. “It’s time we reminded Christians of what it really is,” he says.