22 October 2003

Celebrate Death!

Imagine I invited you and a bunch of friends to a party where the focus was devil worship and we wore costumes while we burned people and animals alive. You may think that I was crazy to even suggest the idea. (At least I would hope so.) However in reality this is what we are celebrating every October 31st in the guise of the holiday of Halloween.

Where did Halloween originate? Originally it was a pagan Druid holiday called “The Vigil of Saman” or Samhain where they celebrated death. In 800 CE/AD the Roman Catholic Church decided to Christianize the pagan holiday by moving All Saints Day from May to November 1st. All Saints Day was a day where the saints that did not get their own special day on the calendar were honored by the Church and when Christians would pay respects to the dead. The new Christian holiday was supposed to be called “All Hallow’s Day”. The evening before became known as “All Hallow’s Eve” which eventually got shortened to Halloween. A problem occurred when this “Christianization” of the pagan holiday never took hold, and the pagan rituals became incorporated into mainstream society.

You may be asking what the big deal is. Today Halloween is a secular holiday celebrated by people of different faiths across the United States. This is true, but the question to ask yourself is if you want to be celebrating a holiday of death and pain throughout the centuries.

Where do the costumes fit into this picture? On the evening of October 31st, the Druids built a huge bonfire of sacred oak trees where they burned animals, crops and PEOPLE as sacrifices to their gods. During this ritual, they wore costumes of animal heads and skins. The Druids also looked for omens in the struggle of the victims being burned to death. They even sang and danced as part of the ritual. This was all in order to scare away the evil spirits. They also dressed up as evil spirits themselves to confuse the evil spirits that were supposed to be coming to attack them.

What I find most interesting is where the word “bonfire” comes from. You would never guess. It is a contraction of the words bone-fire, where bones were burned. There were two main festivals where the Druids burned humans and animals as sacrifices to their gods. One was the evening of April 30th, the other Halloween. The next day the Druids would examine the bones and try to prophesize the future.

In case you were not able to dress up and confuse the evil spirits, you could bribe them. If you treated them with food and made them happy, the spirit would not trick you - or cast an evil spell on you. Another example of the house to house blackmail would be when the Druids would ask for an offering to Saman and if the household was not forthcoming with the treat, the Druid would attack the homeowner with a sharp stick and castrate them. How’s that for fun? Trick or Treat!

There are a couple explanations dealing with the pumpkin. People used to hollow out pumpkins as well as turnips putting a candle inside to scare away the evil spirits. The pumpkin was also used as a symbol that the family inside was sympathetic to the Saman rituals and should not be attacked on the evening of Halloween.

It is no surprise to every cat owner that they should keep their pets indoors on Halloween night. Black cats especially were seen by the Druids as witches in disguise and burned. Black cats are still seen as evil and horrible things have been done in the past and even today black cats have been tortured in Satanic rituals. The Humane Society in many cities will not adopt out black cats around Halloween time with the fear that the cats may be hurt, tortured or killed. How disgusting.

Halloween is approaching next week and everybody is getting excited about getting dressed up, going to parties and having a good time. But while it may be a secular holiday, Halloween has a terrible, murderous history that we need to take into account before celebrating. Ask yourself - do you want to be celebrating the Holiday of Death and Murder?

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