Views about Halloween... Can you be a Christian and still celebrate it?

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
Do you see a distinction between a holiday celebrating evil and being a Christian?
What evil is being celebrated by kids dressing up as firefighters and asking for candy? If the holiday is baptized then there is no issue. Orthodox missionaries saved what they could from the cultures they converted, I don't see why Halloween could not be converted to a wholesome day.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Pelican
Orthodox
What evil is being celebrated by kids dressing up as firefighters and asking for candy? If the holiday is baptized then there is no issue. Orthodox missionaries saved what they could from the cultures they converted, I don't see why Halloween could not be converted to a wholesome day.
This argument is casuistry. Halloween isn’t just about dressing up in harmless costumes and getting candy — its connotations are intrinsically demonic.

It’s like claiming that Christians can celebrate Pride Month — “but it’s just about being against bullying and taking pride in being you!” Enough nonsense.
 

nagareboshi

Woodpecker
Skimming through this history now. This is pretty bad but it's not beyond rehabilitation. It's basically professing a belief that the souls of the departed really exist and that we need to pray and collect offerings on their behalf, and also we want to protect ourselves from demons which are real and actually exist. It seems the idea of dressing up as evil creatures was to protect yourself against them (which is common in East Asian culture as well), wouldn't it be possible to suggest that we just dress up as saintly creatures like angels and holy men to gain the protection in a Christian sense?

Ancient people were not stupid, they are not going to just dress up as wicked creatures to invite misfortune or demonic possession on their households. It seems on the contrary that they wanted to use these costumes to get "passed over" by wandering demons creating mischief.

BY THE WAY, just to show I'm not being unreasonable, I would have agreed with you if this were some ancient shaman ritual by which demons were actually supposed to be manifested and invoked and actually brought into the world. Yes, that would be terrible.


From at least the 16th century,[68] the festival included mumming and guising in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Wales.[69] This involved people going house-to-house in costume (or in disguise), usually reciting verses or songs in exchange for food. It may have originally been a tradition whereby people impersonated the Aos Sí, or the souls of the dead, and received offerings on their behalf, similar to the custom of souling (see below). Impersonating these beings, or wearing a disguise, was also believed to protect oneself from them.[70] It is suggested that the mummers and guisers "personify the old spirits of the winter, who demanded reward in exchange for good fortune".[71] In parts of southern Ireland, the guisers included a hobby horse. A man dressed as a Láir Bhán (white mare) led youths house-to-house reciting verses – some of which had pagan overtones – in exchange for food. If the household donated food it could expect good fortune from the 'Muck Olla'; not doing so would bring misfortune.[72] In Scotland, youths went house-to-house with masked, painted or blackened faces, often threatening to do mischief if they were not welcomed.[69] F. Marian McNeill suggests the ancient festival included people in costume representing the spirits, and that faces were marked (or blackened) with ashes taken from the sacred bonfire.[68] In parts of Wales, men went about dressed as fearsome beings called gwrachod.[69] In the late 19th and early 20th century, young people in Glamorgan and Orkney cross-dressed.[69]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween#cite_note-hutton379-383-69
It is claimed that in the Middle Ages, churches that were too poor to display the relics of martyred saints at Allhallowtide let parishioners dress up as saints instead.[97][98] Some Christians continue to observe this custom at Halloween today.[99] Lesley Bannatyne believes this could have been a Christianization of an earlier pagan custom.[100] While souling, Christians would carry with them "lanterns made of hollowed-out turnips".[101] It has been suggested that the carved jack-o'-lantern, a popular symbol of Halloween, originally represented the souls of the dead.[102] On Halloween, in medieval Europe, fires served a dual purpose, being lit to guide returning souls to the homes of their families, as well as to deflect demons from haunting sincere Christian folk.[103][104] Households in Austria, England and Ireland often had "candles burning in every room to guide the souls back to visit their earthly homes". These were known as "soul lights".[105][106][107] Many Christians in mainland Europe, especially in France, believed "that once a year, on Hallowe'en, the dead of the churchyards rose for one wild, hideous carnival" known as the danse macabre, which has often been depicted in church decoration.[108] Christopher Allmand and Rosamond McKitterick write in The New Cambridge Medieval History that "Christians were moved by the sight of the Infant Jesus playing on his mother's knee; their hearts were touched by the Pietà; and patron saints reassured them by their presence. But, all the while, the danse macabre urged them not to forget the end of all earthly things."[109] This danse macabre was enacted at village pageants and at court masques, with people "dressing up as corpses from various strata of society", and may have been the origin of modern-day Halloween costume parties.[101][110][111]
 

Mark-David

Pigeon
When I think of Halloween I think of women in quasi-pornographic costumes, horror films designed to titillate that are filled with nudity and gore, the presentation of occult forms as fun and harmless, and the encouragement of bad behavior. The use of masks itself is interesting, since it's a kind of abandonment of self into which something else can step into. The ubiquity of the mask/deformed face in the horror film really points to the fact that when we give up the self we allow evil to come in. This reminds me of stories about people who got sucked into Buddhism, went on meditation retreats, and after days of relentless and seemingly directionless abandoning of the self, started having demonic visions with some even committing suicide (just Google "meditation retreat suicide." Yes, I'm taking a strong stance, but just look around at the society and culture that celebrates Halloween and ask yourself how healthy it is.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Pelican
Orthodox
Skimming through this history now. This is pretty bad but it's not beyond rehabilitation. It's basically professing a belief that the souls of the departed really exist and that we need to pray and collect offerings on their behalf, and also we want to protect ourselves from demons which are real and actually exist. It seems the idea of dressing up as evil creatures was to protect yourself against them (which is common in East Asian culture as well), wouldn't it be possible to suggest that we just dress up as saintly creatures like angels and holy men to gain the protection in a Christian sense?




https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween#cite_note-hutton379-383-69
Sure, nothing is beyond redemption. But we don’t live in a Christian culture that would make such a rehabilitation possible. Until such a dispensation changes, a Christian shouldn’t celebrate Halloween.

The ancient pagans were either widely converted or militarily crushed by Christians, and forced to change their heathen holidays into Christian ones.

Do you propose that the Vatican form an army today, use it to conquer the USA, and then impose new rules for the celebration of a holiday on Oct. 31? I’d like that, but it isn’t going to happen.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
From Missionaries Monks, and Martyrs: Making Disciples of All Nations' description of Saint Innocent of Alaska's (then Father John) missionary work on page 98:
Father John's respect for the culture of the Aleuts was apparent in other ways as well. He conscientiously strove to retain the positive aspects of their culture and reject only that which was completely incompatible with Orthodoxy, by doing this he helped the Aleuts take ownership of their new faith. For example, when a discrepancy arose between Orthodox tenets and the native practices of the people, Father John did not condemn outright their way of life. Instead, he guided the people through education, and allowed the to realize the incompatibility. By this method, the changes emanated from the natives, instead of from their teacher.
In what @nagareboshi shared, we can see the foundation for a true Christian holiday based on remembrance and prayer for the dead, charity, and loving your neighbor. If kids were to dress up as saints, or at least as virtuous secular professions, with Christian parents and likeminded people, the holiday could bear very good fruit. I initially stated that dressing up as witches and demons is a negative thing, indeed demonic. I have also stated on this forum many times that we need to create Christian communities as the Amish have, as a beacon of light in this world (such examples are given in the same book I cited where Christian native Alaskans formed villages separate from the other natives, over time attracting more and more people).

@Eusebius Erasmus I think we can both agree that the holiday in its current form is evil. All I am saying is that there is a way to take the roots of it, and turn it into something good, as has been done in the past. I will also say that a parent now should not let their kids go trick-or-treating when the neighborhood has demonic decorations and the kids are wearing costumes which represent evil. I hope you don't think I actually have evil intentions, and I disapprove of the negativity expressed after so many good interactions with you on this forum, but I do appreciate the zeal.
 

Mark-David

Pigeon
Amazing secular redpill. I'm already theologically hardcore against neo-meditation but you have given me evidence even to persuade the atheists.
Atheist adoption of sanitized East Asian meditation marathons is widespread, with extreme ignorance over its effects. At one stage of my life I looked into Zen, and found "mindfulness" stories from mothers who fell into extreme apathy towards life because of meditation. They lost love and care for their children, and became inconsolably listless in all areas of life. Even some of the Zen masters say meditation without proper guidance will lead to dangerous visions (demonic) and suicidal tendencies. They call this Zen sickness, and there are writings attesting to it that are over a thousand years old. The idea that going to Manhattan, to sit with a Jewish "mindfulness" expert for 10 hours of staring at a wall every day for a week, will somehow improve your well-being is one of the strangest modern fads yet. To bring it back to Halloween, Purim may be another example of mask-wearing "fun" built on darker foundations. Masks are shamanic in origin, and appear in the Bible in two ways - they are used to fool people, and used to fool God. The modern Rabbinic Purim, replete with masks, is a demonic celebration of both, both in terms of fooling the non-Jew and in running a kind of pretense of holiness.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Pelican
Orthodox
From Missionaries Monks, and Martyrs: Making Disciples of All Nations' description of Saint Innocent of Alaska's (then Father John) missionary work on page 98:

In what @nagareboshi shared, we can see the foundation for a true Christian holiday based on remembrance and prayer for the dead, charity, and loving your neighbor. If kids were to dress up as saints, or at least as virtuous secular professions, with Christian parents and likeminded people, the holiday could bear very good fruit. I initially stated that dressing up as witches and demons is a negative thing, indeed demonic. I have also stated on this forum many times that we need to create Christian communities as the Amish have, as a beacon of light in this world (such examples are given in the same book I cited where Christian native Alaskans formed villages separate from the other natives, over time attracting more and more people).

@Eusebius Erasmus I think we can both agree that the holiday in its current form is evil. All I am saying is that there is a way to take the roots of it, and turn it into something good, as has been done in the past. I will also say that a parent now should not let their kids go trick-or-treating when the neighborhood has demonic decorations and the kids are wearing costumes which represent evil. I hope you don't think I actually have evil intentions, and I disapprove of the negativity expressed after so many good interactions with you on this forum, but I do appreciate the zeal.
Halloween is an intrinsically evil holiday. Nobody thinks of 'firefighters' when picturing Halloween -- they think about ghouls, goblins, blood, horror movies, and perhaps young women in indecent costumes.

I doubt you have evil intentions. I prefer to think well of people, especially fellow Christians. That's not the issue: the issue is that you're using casuistry to justify celebrating a holiday which, in our current dispensation, is demonic.

Can Halloween be baptized? Possibly. Will it be? Highly unlikely, given what we know of Church history, and how heathen holidays were properly rehabilitated and redeemed in the past.

If you're willing to fund a Christian political coup or military takeover in the Western world, and then use that power to enforce a change of October 31st customs, then go ahead. Or, if you can evangelize most Americans into Orthodoxy, fine. Until then, we Christians shouldn't celebrate an evil holiday.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
It's like you didn't process anything I wrote, but that's okay. If I lived in an Orthodox community where we could model our children's perceptions of Halloween and we had the blessing of a priest to have our kids dress up as little nuns, priests, nurses or soldiers, and ask for candy, I would do so. That would not be intrinsically evil. It would be a beacon of light in the world. This doesn't require some sort of military takeover (a bizarre thing to bring up) or even converting most Americans to Orthodoxy. We cannot defeat the world at worldliness, but we can become whitepilled beacons of light in the world. We could show the world you can have fun without doing demonic things.

Your perception of the modern celebration of Halloween may be one of irredeemable evil, but that doesn't mean a Christian version of it couldn't be implemented in a Christian community. Ghouls and goblins doesn't need to be how our children perceive of it. We're allowed to have our own culture and fun every now and then.

I do not celebrate Halloween - I have not dressed, decorated, or handed out candy in at least three years, longer than I have been a baptized Orthodox Christian. So the accusation that I'm trying to justify my "celebrating" of it is just false.
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I am not trying to mislead people.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Pelican
Orthodox
It's like you didn't process anything I wrote, but that's okay. If I lived in an Orthodox community where we could model our children's perceptions of Halloween and we had the blessing of a priest to have our kids dress up as little nuns, priests, nurses or soldiers, and ask for candy, I would do so. That would not be intrinsically evil. It would be a beacon of light in the world. This doesn't require some sort of military takeover (a bizarre thing to bring up) or even converting most Americans to Orthodoxy. We cannot defeat the world at worldliness, but we can become whitepilled beacons of light in the world. We could show the world you can have fun without doing demonic things.

Your perception of the modern celebration of Halloween may be one of irredeemable evil, but that doesn't mean a Christian version of it couldn't be implemented in a Christian community. Ghouls and goblins doesn't need to be how our children perceive of it. We're allowed to have our own culture and fun every now and then.

I do not celebrate Halloween - I have not dressed, decorated, or handed out candy in at least three years, longer than I have been a baptized Orthodox Christian. So the accusation that I'm trying to justify my "celebrating" of it is just false.
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I am not trying to mislead people.


"If we lived in a [perfect] Orthodox community... the priest gives a blessing... we're isolated from the world, etc."-- respectfully, that's a specious thought experiment. We don't live in such isolated mini-heavens. We live in the world.

The world does not view Halloween as a saintly or Christian holiday. Let's not kid ourselves. Any meaningful change to that is unlikely to happen soon.

For this reason, I do not permit my kids to celebrate Halloween.

I doubt you're trying to mislead people -- you're trying to rationalize a holiday dedicated to the spirits of darkness. This is the essence of casuistry. The solution is quite simple: don't do Halloween.

Also:
 
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DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
"If we lived in a [perfect] Orthodox community... the priest gives a blessing... we're isolated from the world, etc."-- respectfully, that's a specious thought experiment. We don't live in such isolated mini-heavens. We live in the world.

The world does not view Halloween as a saintly or Christian holiday. Let's not kid ourselves. Any meaningful change to that is unlikely to happen soon.

For this reason, I do not permit my kids to celebrate Halloween.

I doubt you're trying to mislead people -- you're trying to rationalize a holiday dedicated to the spirits of darkness. This is the essence of casuistry. The solution is quite simple: don't do Halloween.

Also:
I repent of this position, it was motivated by pride and putting my heritage/culture over Christ. Honestly Fauci telling people it's okay to celebrate Halloween, but maybe not Christmas was what did it for me. You're right, there's too many "ifs" required to rehabilitate Halloween, it's just not going to happen. At best it is a "holiday" of debauchery, at worst, satan worship.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Pelican
Orthodox
I repent of this position, it was motivated by pride and putting my heritage/culture over Christ. Honestly Fauci telling people it's okay to celebrate Halloween, but maybe not Christmas was what did it for me. You're right, there's too many "ifs" required to rehabilitate Halloween, it's just not going to happen. At best it is a "holiday" of debauchery, at worst, satan worship.
No worries, I have had to repent of many positions I previously held, before I became Orthodox. I still have many sins I struggle with.
 
As a society goes, so go the holidays.

A pagan holiday is Christianized? The society is Christian, so of course that happens.

A Christian holiday is paganized? The society is pagan.

What are we going to do when a Christian minority is all that celebrates Easter, and the society around us celebrates a gluttonous orgy of chocolate bingeing? Or Christmas, and society erupts in Black Friday covetousness riots?
 

Lawrence87

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Personally, I think it is dangerous to celebrate Halloween. Whilst some might say its just a bit of fun I think, even if true, this leads to a subconscious idea that traditions are empty and just a bit of fun or just a thing we do. Kids aren't stupid, they are going to start applying that reasoning to Christianity too. Before you know it the major feasts of the Church become empty traditions in their eyes.

Given that it is a pagan tradition too, the idea that it is harmless becomes even harder to hold on to for the Christian. There are plenty of feasts and celebrations in the Church to get your kids excited and involved with, there's no need to conform to the world.
 
Skimming through this history now. This is pretty bad but it's not beyond rehabilitation. It's basically professing a belief that the souls of the departed really exist and that we need to pray and collect offerings on their behalf,
"All souls day" includes, well, all souls, and there were many (biblical examples) of souls that were executed directly by God - Why would I desire to participate in any ceremony/ritual that includes praying and collecting-of-offerings for such individuals?

and also we want to protect ourselves from demons which are real and actually exist. It seems the idea of dressing up as evil creatures was to protect yourself against them (which is common in East Asian culture as well), wouldn't it be possible to suggest that we just dress up as saintly creatures like angels and holy men to gain the protection in a Christian sense?

Ancient people were not stupid, they are not going to just dress up as wicked creatures to invite misfortune or demonic possession on their households. It seems on the contrary that they wanted to use these costumes to get "passed over" by wandering demons creating mischief.

BY THE WAY, just to show I'm not being unreasonable, I would have agreed with you if this were some ancient shaman ritual by which demons were actually supposed to be manifested and invoked and actually brought into the world. Yes, that would be terrible.




https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween#cite_note-hutton379-383-69
Our protection from wicked angelic creatures is through prayer and the subsequent power of God's holy spirit, not by our adornment of some insignificant physical clothing.
 
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