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Friday, October 29, 2010

All Hallows Eve – Halloween - October 31

All Hallows Eve – Halloween - October 31

"Therefore, since we are surrounded
by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance
the race marked out for us, 
fixing our eyes on Jesus,
the pioneer and perfecter of faith
(Hebrews 12:1-2)

Ah once again it is time for Halloween. Last year I wrote about taking back Halloween to its original Christian Catholic roots, and asked others to join me. Well you didn’t all jump up at once. So I am back to try again!

As I said in by blog last year at this time, the origins of Halloween are Christian. All Hallows Even, or the evening before the celebration of a “hallow” or “saintly” day falls on October 31st, frankly, because of a Roman Catholic Pope and the piety of the people of the 4th to 9th centuries. St. Ephrem the Syrian and other pious people who wrote asking for a common feast day for the multitude of saints who had given their lives for the Church as early as 373. Finally in 411 the common feast day was placed on the Friday after Easter.

The ancient Celts of both Ireland and England celebrated festivals on the last day of most months, on October 31 the celebration revolved around the harvest and was called Samhain. Samhain is roughly translated from the Old Irish as “summer’s end.”

Did the Catholic Church change the feast of All Saints from the Friday after Easter to November 1 to offer a Christian substitute for a pagan ritual of a group of Celts in Ireland and England? It is not absolutely known why the Church moved the feast of All Saints from spring to fall in the 8th century by Pope Gregory III, but it might be concluded that Rome did not have enough resources in the spring to feed all the pilgrims who flooded the area not only for Easter but also for the celebration of the day of All Saints a week later. Or it might be concluded that Christianity needed a boost in Ireland after being introduced by Saint Patrick in 432. Whatever the reasoning, the feast was moved to after the harvest in the 8th century and finally established for the entire Church on November 1 in the 9th century by Pope Gregory IV.

So once again I will attempt to take back Halloween and look at it as a great opportunity to further promote the understanding of the Catholic Church, the promotion of the Gospel of Christ Jesus, and prepare to honor All Saints on November 1.

Happy All Hallows Eve, and as I have said every year, (or I have to turn in my “Mother Card”) be careful out there.

For gift items related to the Catholic Church

All Saints Day - Albrecht Durer

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