Friday, October 19, 2007

All Hallow's Eve

Here's a great article by Catholics United for the Faith (CUF) regarding the history of "All Hallow's Eve," more commonly called Halloween:

All Hallows' Eve

Issue: Is the celebration of Halloween a pagan feast? May a Catholic celebrate Halloween in good conscience? What is the history of this popular American holiday?

Response: We celebrate Halloween on the evening before All Saints Day. The word itself is a shortened form of "All Hallows’ Eve," which quite literally means "the eve of All Saints." From the earliest days of the Feast of All Saints (mid 700s A.D.), Catholics observed October 31 as the vigil of this November 1 celebration. This feast commemorates the lives of Christians who lived exemplary lives of faith. Pope Sixtus IV introduced an octave to the feast day in the 1400s, which was celebrated until 1955.

In the United States, the secular celebration of Halloween [emphasis added] combines the diverse holidays and cultural practices of the immigrants who settled here. The Church has not issued any prohibitions on celebrating Halloween, so Catholics remain free to participate in accord with their conscience. Naturally, such participation must not conflict with the faith or Christian charity.

Discussion: As noted above, "Halloween" is a shortened term for the English title "All Hallow’s Eve." A title given to the vigil celebration of the Catholic feast, All Saints Day. The secular practices in the United States associated with this night represent a mixture of practices taken from the various cultures represented in the United States. Christianity itself, Catholicism included, has contributed to these practices.

An Initial Caution

Some hold the opinion that Halloween represents an occult holiday. Catholics and other reasonable Christians should take these accusations with a grain of salt.... MORE