From a background of having pagan and wiccan friends growing up, I have to strongly oppose Halloween. If you knew the rituals, you might too. Especially if you knew how many devout Wiccans are out there which take it seriously enough to perform these rituals. As a night which the world glorifies and revels in wicked behavior with candy to sweeten it all up so its easier to swallow, it has roots and followers.
The celebration taking place in Haunted Houses is simply a re-enactment of devlish deeds.
Ritual in the Occult is more about re-enactment than canting. No words have to be spoken. Free-Masonry, which the church openly opposes in some jurisdictions, holds its rituals in the same manner. Silent acting and symbolism are two key components to real Occult rituals.
Kids running from door-to-door to get some candy...all in good fun - just a commercialized encouragement to keep this evil holiday in style.
I I teach my kids that they are different from the world.They are different because they are Christians, not of this world and preparing for the next. I hope they will understand as they mature, the gravity of this understanding. We should not participate in worldly things. We are supposed to be working our our salvation here. Let's ask for God's strength, especially me, because I am too weak to do it on my own.
Hmm. I could be wrong, but from what I've seen (I know some people who claim to be 'Pagan'), these so-called rituals are ersatz attempts to reconnect with some kind of 'folk culture' that precedes Christianity. I am dubious about them, and I very much doubt that they are any kind of genuine survival from a pre-Christian past. To me, Halloween is All Hallows Eve - the clue is in the name. It is the day before the Christian festival for all holy souls, and at least in my part of the world, the time when we remember the dead. Customs like carving pumpkins and so on certainly are part of a folk tradition (as is holly at Christmas time - and, indeed, the date of Christmas!). But they have been part of the Christian celebration for a very long time, and it's only relatively recently that new-age Pagans have decided to 'reclaim' this festival.
Anyway, that's how it seems to me. Maybe I know the wrong kind of Pagans, but ...
I agree, Liz. I'm wondering what evil pagan rituals Americans are up to during Halloween; along with their candy collecting and dressing up.
Well, chatting on msn to one of the aforementioned Pagans I know, apparently Halloween is an ancient Celtic festival, celebrated by many devout Pagans through the ages - who, strangely, forgot to leave any trace whatsoever of their part in the recorded customs surrounding the day, except, of course, to those who know. Apparently if you are sufficiently 'spiritually receptive', you can 'sense' the presence of elemental forces when you venture into the darkness of the night.
I am really not making this up.
When we were children, my parents used to make a competition for us, bobbing for apples. They made it quite clear that this was a folk custom - a game - and in fact, as far as I know it's not something that has a particularly long history. I think folk customs, and indeed pre-Christian rituals, are fascinating. But we have to accept that evidence for most of these things is sketchy at best, and people usually make up something plausible as a mish-mash of make-believe and anthropological plausibility. So, I was told that apple bobbing has to do with the apple as a symbol of magic (guess where that might come from?), and the water as one of the core elemental forces (again, the symbolic potency of water is pretty well attested throughout the Bible).
There is this argument I have heard, that the pagan religion must be much older than Christianity (and indeed, than the Bible), and that the Christians came along, bowdlerizing and masculinizing the old culture. The 'proof' that the pagan religion is older is based on the fact that when Christianity came to the West, and Britain, there were 'pagans' to be converted. Therefore, so the argument goes, we must see Christianity as a palimpsest, and we must re-interpret its text to recover the pagan religion. Thus, completely disregarding
the fact that the Bible had been around for hundreds of years before
it came to Britain and might well precede the Celtic culture found there.
Educate your children to recongize Halloween as a Christian festival with some harmless, relatively modern, and pretty secular games added in, and they won't be taken in.