All Hallows E'en

What is Halloween really? Is it when we release our inner devil and commit all sorts of terrifying pranks? Is it a day for Satanists to cheer? Is it an excuse to be extra wicked? Is it when we commemorate our fallen Wiccan heroes? Is it a day to honor the Occult?

To these questions the Catholic church answers a resounding NO.

The Eve of the Feasts of All Saints (Nov.1) and All Souls (Nov.2) is a night when we actually celebrate our victory over sin and death gained for us by Jesus Christ. It is a night to celebrate the Paschal Lamb, whose blood redeemed the world. It is a night to celebrate the many witnesses to our faith who have given their lives in service to the Kingdom. It is a night to celebrate that no demons, no powers of darkness, not even the Prince of Evil, can ever overcome God and the holy angels and the Church.

If you would like to understand better this perspective on Halloween, I encourage you to check out two resources no visitor to CatholicLand should be without: 1.) the American Catholic website and 2.) the Catholic Culture website [formerly petersnet.net] Here you will find insightful exploration of the history of Halloween and origins of its customs and suggestions for keeping this holy day...holy.

Both websites examine the history of Halloween here (AC) and here (CC), respectively. The holiday began as a vigil of fasting, penance in preparation for the sacred feastdays to follow. Halloween was an opportunity to reflect on one's own mortality and sin. It was a night to be mindful of the darkness that lurks so very close to us all. And yet, we laugh and celebrate because we have no reason for fear- Christ is here!

Many earnest but uninformed people reject this holiday as a veneration of evil wrapped up in pagan trappings. But celebrating Halloween is truly one of the most Christian things we can do. It is a night for reminding ourselves that demonic forces are at work in the world. It is a night to remind ourselves that horrible things will happen to those who try to share the message of Christ. Centuries of exorcisms and martyrdoms attest to the fact that we have reason to be fearful as Christians. But on Halloween, we dispel that fear because of our faith in Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. We have faith in the power of angels to outdo the work of their fallen foes. We trust in the goodness of Creation.

And so we celebrate. The Catholic Culture website has some ideas for a Halloween party that would help children learn why this day is so holy. And American Catholic offers an excellent article that explains the importance of remembering the martyrs, praying for the souls in Purgatory, and reflecting on our own mortality at least one day out of the year. And for all those Catholic Moms, here's a website with good ideas for how to celebrate the day and catechise your children at the same time.

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