The beginning of Halloween goes all the way back to the Celtics in the BC era, to a day they called Sawan. The Celtics apparently believed that on this one night each year the world of the living and world of the dead combined. They believed this night to be the time when the souls of the dead could walk among the living.
On this night, which fell at the end of their harvest time, Druid priests would ask the spirits if the villagers would survive the winter. The villagers themselves resorted to dressing up in costumes in an effort to confuse the spirits and keep them away.
Pope Introduces All Hallow’s Day
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III started a holiday called All Hallow’s Day. Apparently, he hoped that the Celtics would choose to celebrate this day instead of Sawan. All Hallow’s Day was to fall on Novemeber 1st, and was designed to be a day to celebrate all known and unknown saints.
This day was generally accepted, but those who wanted to celebrate Sawan continued to do so. Eventually, the two holidays were combined and the new day was named All Hallow’s Eve. This same celebration was shortened to be called Halloween.
Halloween Abandoned, Then Reshaped
Halloween was not celebrated in early America, as the Puritans were not the least bit interested in it. However, that all changed with the potato famine of the 19th century. Many Irish people came to America as a result of that famine, and brought the tradition of celebrating Halloween with them to the new world.
Once in America, however, their customs became meshed with the American culture, and their celebrations changed. For instance, instead of lighting big bonfires, they lit fires in pumpkins. The scary costumes that were originally used to scare away spirits were turned into trick or treat costumes.
Trick or treat itself is believed to come from the old tradition of the poor going from house to house, praying for the household’s dead in exchange for small cakes. This was calling souling.
In the early 20th century, many Americans were dressing up and participating in Halloween. It was becoming big business, as well. Companies soon realized they could cash in on this night by selling things like costumes, make up, and candy.
For many retailers, Halloween is one of the most lucrative times of the year. Billions of dollars are spent by the American public on this one pagan celebration.
Christians are called to serve God alone, and to love what is good, not what is evil. It is perfectly normal to enjoy the beauty of Autumn, harvest time, and the cool crisp air of the season. Christians believe those things are good, created by God. And, it is certainly possible to celebrate the Fall season without celebrating Halloween.