Saturday, October 31, 2009


Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I LOVE Halloween. Absolutely, love Halloween. It is truly an American holiday. Halloween is totally secular although fundamental "Christians" and now the Bishop of Rome, have tried to make Halloween into something that it isn't. Bits and pieces of Halloween have been adopted by other countries, especially the British. This has led to further criticism and misunderstanding of our American holiday. Halloween foster community spirit. Here in America, you will neighborhoods throughout the country, having barbecues, kids' parades and parties. Parents help their kids choose costumes. Parents, too, get dressed up. One parent usually stays home to be at the door to await the trick or treaters, while the other parent takes the kids down the street.
Yes, there is worship -- worship of the Almighty Snicker Bar -- but there is not an ounce of paganism taking place. It is fun to see how creative kids can be with their costumes or ... that was the fifth pirate tonight. Pirates and princesses are the top costumes, this year, according to different sources.
The Bishop of Rome has slammed Halloween and calls it "dangerous" and "anti-Christian." Talk about macabre. Perhaps a black cat crossed his path. The celebration of Halloween has nothing to do with All Hallow's eve and All Saints' Day, which is tomorrow.
Roman Catholics pray for the dead, but this is not a custom for other Christians, including Lutherans.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church recommends "giving a gift to ELCA World Hunger Appeal comparable to (or more than) your Halloween expenses and offering it through your congregation on All Saints Sunday (November 1, 2009). Make your donation check out to your congregation and write “ELCA World Hunger Appeal” on the memo line. Encouraging children to use the ELCA World Hunger coin boxes to share with others who struggle with hunger and poverty. Perhaps connect the candy they consume with the contributions they offer."
I was at the gym this morning, and I noticed that another Lutheran church had set up a donation box to collect Halloween to send to the troops overseas.
October 31 is also a very important day in the Church Calendar. A truly scary day for the Roman Catholic Church. On October 31, 1517, a German monk Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg Castle.

The other photo shows my Halloween lights. Tomorrow I will put away all my Halloween stuff and out come the Pilgrim People!
(The window light is Snoopy and the Great Pumpkin!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greetings, Marlene, from a fellow Halloweener!

Halloween is truly an American occasion, and I too love it, though I prefer the cheerful pumpkin/sun faces to the macabre motifs. I have little jack o'lanterns and some pretty witches and ghosts everywhere. Where I live, it is time to get them out when the leaves turn bright colors, and time to put them away when the leaves fall. And yes, then the Thanksgiving turkeys and pilgrims come to the tabletops.

Halloween is of course a descendent of an ancient European fall festival called Samhain, meaning in Celtic languages end of summer. I'm sure the Hispanic Day of the Dead and the Germanic St. Maarten's Eve are distant cousins, since the symbols are similar. They include skulls (Mexico) and sun lanterns (Germany). Our masks and carved vegetables and costumes were part of the old Samhain celebration, which also involved large bonfires. Guy Fawkes Night has taken over that part of the fall observance in England.

All Saints Day is a far later invention than Samhain, and no doubt sought to supplant some of the rowdiness. And yet, it too celebrates the dead. The theme of change runs through all these celebrations. Seasonal change, life to death to life to come, light to dark to light to come - Halloween is a more important festival than we sometimes realize.

Regards, jinja