Here this week is author Kathryn Slattery! Her book, If I Could Ask God Anything, is a unique kid-friendly book jam-packed with clear, fresh answers to important questions about God, faith, prayer, and Christianity in language that children can understand. Kathryn has been so nice to answer some of the most popular questions for us right here on the blog!
Exactly what Kind of Holiday is Halloween?
Many years ago, All Saints’ Day, which takes place on November 1, was known as All Hallows Day. Hallows is an Old English word that means “holy person” or “saint.” (For more about All Saints’ Day, see below!)
The word Halloween comes from “All Hallows Eve.” Halloween takes place on October 31, the evening before All Saints’ or All Hallows Day.
Although Halloween is very popular, it is not a Christian or church holiday. Halloween began as a Druid celebration called Samhain, or festival of the dead, in northern Europe. The Druids were people who had not yet heard of Jesus. Druids believed that on the eve of November 1, the souls of the dead came and mingled with the living. This was a very scary thought. The Druids carved turnips and potatoes and put candles inside to symbolize ghostly spirits. They built big bonfires and offered sacrifices of crops and animals to cruel spirits. They dressed up in costumes to disguise themselves from evil spirits.
Even after they became Christians, some people in northern Europe continued these customs and called it Halloween. People who came from Ireland brought Halloween to America in the 1840’s. American pumpkins made better jack-o’-lanterns than turnips and potatoes!
Over the years, Halloween has become a popular time for parties and trick-or-treating. It can be fun to dress up in costumes and go door-to-door for candy. Sometimes it is fun to be scared. But it is important to remember that Halloween is a holiday that was started by people who did not know God or Jesus. That is why Halloween is dark and scary.
God is not dark and scary. God is light and love. (John 8:12; 1 John 1:5) This is very good news on Halloween and every day of the year!
What is All Saints’ Day?
All Saints’ Day is a Christian holy day on November 1, that honors all saints, known and unknown, alive on earth, and alive in heaven. The word saint means “set apart for God.” The members of the early Christian church called one another “saints.” (Acts 9:13; Romans 15:25; 2 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Timothy 5:10)
Who is a saint?
A saint is any person who believes in Jesus.
Here is good news: Because you believe in Jesus, you are a saint!
Happy All Saints’ Day to you on November 1!