Christmas, Easter and Halloween are three of the four biggest holidays celebrated in the United States. The question has come to my mind, what should Christians do with them? These holidays have a lot in common. They're all on the same day as historical pagan holidays, they all still use some historic pagan symbolism and traditions, and they're huge commercial money makers. They also have some differences, so lets play a game. Lets play one of these things is not like the others
Let's take a look at the three individually starting with Christmas. Christmas is one of the biggest holidays in the world really. It's celebrated on December 25th which was originally the date of the Roman holiday of Saturnalia it also coincides with the Norse and Germanic Yule festivals and in fact many of the traditions and decorations we use for Christmas are hold over from these pagan celebrations, decorating trees, holly, giving presents, Santa Claus, all these things are hold overs from paganism
However we have added some things. While the original meaning of these holidays varied we have added what has become a near universal meaning. We celebrate on Dec 25th the birth of Jesus Christ. We have redeemed this day. Many ask why this particular day? Why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus on a day so full of pagan symbolism? The short answer is (and this goes for Easter too) The Roman Catholic church were fantastic at marketing. The Catholic church absorbed pagan holidays and worship site in an attempt to create converts, and it worked, of course in the end I'm sure if the pagans or the Catholics were the ones who were actually converted but that's for a different blog.
Easter is one of the holiest days on the Christian calender yet in the west it has the same problem as Christmas, it's over flowing with pagan symbolism. The Easter bunny, coloring and hunting eggs, etc.... Again this is a hold over from the eastern European Norse and Germanic traditions and yet again we've attached the holiest of meanings to this day. The resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. Indeed Christmas and Easter are two of the highest attendance times of the year for churches, both Catholic and Protestant.
And now Halloween, celebrated on October 31st. It was the end of the Celtic calender. It was many things. It was a celebration of dead ancestors. It was a day when the veil between worlds was said to be at it's thinnest and demons and ghosts would roam amongst the living. People would dress up as animals and demons hoping to confuse the wondering spirits. I've heard several different origins for "trick or treating" and Jack o lanterns. This was a time of divining the dead and worshiping the gods of the death and the underworld. However today we in the western Christian world have...done nothing with this day.
The traditions of Halloween have no other meaning than these. I would say most Christians in the United States celebrate Halloween in some fashion, but why? Why do Christians celebrate Halloween? It's not ours. Practicing Jews don't celebrate Christmas. We as Christians don't celebrate Yom Kippo or Ramadon. So why do we celebrate Halloween. It has nothing we can link back to Christ. To This day it's purely a pagan holiday...so Why?