Recently I was reflecting on the tremendous hype of Halloween. The fascination of dressing up as someone you’re not. The fixation on death and being scared out of you wits. The delight in trick-or-treating to get a great amount of candy. In reflecting on the obsession with Halloween, it occurred to me that the celebration is a far cry for the initial intent of the holiday.
Halloween comes from traditional ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, where people would light bond-fires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. It was held on the eve of All Saints Day and became known as All Hollow’s Eve. It was a preparation for the day of commemorating all the saints of the church both known and unknown who have attained Heaven. Initiated in the Catholic Church, it was latter found favor in other Christian denominations.
The Catholic Church saw All Saints Day in a somewhat narrow focus commemorating those whom the Church elevated to the status of sainthood. In other traditions which did not have elevated saints, say all believers are saints. Which comes from the Apostle Paul who saw everyone in the faith as saints, meaning true believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Both traditions central focus is to remember all the saints who have gone before offering thanksgiving and honor. In the process of remembering, the celebrant is reconnected spiritually and emotionally with the saints who have passed on. All Saints Day then is a sacred day of commemoration which has faded from our days of celebrations.
My hope for those of us in the Christian faith that we regain a focus on All Saints Day as a time to give thanks for the saints in our lives and honor their gifts left with us. HAPPY ALL SAINTS DAY. Amen.