When thinking about all the skulls, ghosts, goblins, and ghouls associated with Halloween, many people do not realize that this holiday is actually a day celebrated by many Catholics and Christians around the world. The word “Halloween” is actually taken from the word “holiday” or “holy day” that was known as All Hallow’s Eve, a celebration of the dead and of the souls of the departed on the day before All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church.
All Saints Day is observed as one of the holiest days on the Catholic calendar by remembering and celebrating those who dedicated their lives to their faith. While people in America might not see the religious side of the holiday, many countries throughout the world observe Halloween strictly in a religious sense.
In Mexico, for instance, Dia de los Muertes (Day of the Dead) combines the Halloween spirit with religious aspects into a day in which family members celebrate those people who have lost their battle with death. They prepare and serve food and drink that the deceased person enjoyed because they believe that their spirit returns to the household and blesses the family and their ancestors with graces.
The religious side of the holiday of Halloween began almost 1,300 years ago and was a combination of a Celtic holiday called Samhain and Roman Catholic beliefs. During Samhain, bonfires were burned and turnips were carved similar to today’s carving of pumpkins. The tradition of trick-or-treating is also derived from this Celtic holiday where people went house to house collecting candy, gum, and treats just like today. The scary aspects of Halloween like that of demons and ghosts revolve around the Catholic belief of the separation of heaven, hell, and purgatory and that the souls of those who have died can be seen on the eve of All Saints Day, making this frightening holiday a religious one as well.
So when kids are out running around in their costumes and people are munching on the snacks they received, hopefully they realize the true meaning and background of the Halloween holiday, celebrating and remembering those who died in the name of Jesus Christ and for all of those people whose souls have been saved by God.