Here we are in the best time of year, at least in my opinion it is. The weather is cooling off, the leaves are changing color, and Starbucks is once again serving pumpkin spice lattes. Honestly, I'm not a fan of anything with pumpkin flavor, but my wife certainly is. But all of that indicates that Halloween is here. Last night actually.
Some people celebrate Halloween by dressing up in costumes, indulging in sweets, and watching scary movies. Others use this opportunity to think back on the saints who came before us. Others believe it to be a pagan celebration with dark beginnings. So, what is the real story of Halloween?
The idea that Halloween has pagan roots is among the most widespread myths about the holiday. Particularly, a lot of people think that Samhain, a Celtic festival, is where Halloween got its start. However, there is no proof to back up this claim. In fact, the first mention of Samhain in connection with Halloween doesn't appear until over 1000 years after the festival was first celebrated!
So where does Halloween come from if it isn't related to Samhain? The solution might surprise you.
Halloween actually has its roots in Christianity! It began as a holiday to honor all of the saints who had died for their faith. The holiday was originally called All Saints' Day and was celebrated on May 13th. However, in 835 AD, Pope Gregory IV moved the holiday to November 1st so that it would coincide with another existing holiday honoring all of the martyrs who had died for their faith. This holiday was called All Martyrs' Day and was celebrated on November 1st.
Eventually, the two holidays were combined into one and became known as All Saints' Day or All Hallows' Day. The night before All Hallows' Day came to be known as All Hallows' Eve—which we now know as Halloween!
So, there you have it! The truth about Halloween. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a pagan holiday with evil origins. Rather, it is a Christian holiday that commemorates all of the saints who have gone before us—both those who died for their faith and those who lived lives of heroic virtue. So go out and enjoy some candy this Halloween—and maybe learn a thing or two about its Christian origin while you're at it!