Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween- Harmless fun or Sinister Symbolisim?

I live in a Christian Valley ( Fish Hoek) that is filled with many churches. So Halloween is very controversial here. When I grew up, halloween was not widely celebrated but its becoming very popular now, and I am not sure exactly what my view is of Halloween. Is it a harmless evening of dress up in spooky costumes allowing the kids to go trick or treating or is it something spiritually sinister?

From what I have read,the countries do celebrate it their  traditions and importance of the celebration vary significantly.

 The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin  allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honoured and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces.[4][5]

The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays dates back to the Middle Ages and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain,[19] although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.

Christian attitudes towards Halloween are quite diverse. Many Christians ascribe no negative significance to Halloween, treating it as a purely secular holiday devoted to celebrating "imaginary spooks" and handing out candy. To these Christians, Halloween holds no threat to the spiritual lives of children:

Other Christians feel concerned about Halloween, and reject the holiday because they feel it  celebrates - paganism, the occult, or other practices and cultural phenomena deemed incompatible with their beliefs.[55] Some consider Halloween to be completely incompatible with the Christian faith because of its origin as a pagan "Festival of the Dead", and most of our Churches here in the Fish Hoek Valley( perhaps all?) feel this way.

The King of Kings Baptist Church is holding a fun evening tonight 4-8pm, as an alternative way for the kids to have some fun, and I think this is a great idea. If you are against Halloween and have kids, I feel it will cause the kids to have a lot of resentment towards their parents when they have to gumly sit indoors listening to the door bell ring and all the kids having fun outside.

So, seeing I still sit on the fence on this topic, and my kids want to have fun, I am going to take them down to the Baptist Church to exactly that as I am not comfortable with my kids dressing up as the devil or a witch. My husband doesnt give a fig and as long as they are having a good time.