The Christian Origins of Halloween

By: Justin Rouillon

It’s that time of year when the shops have been decorated with skulls, gravestones and all things spooky, but what should a Christian response to Halloween be?

The secular version of Halloween as we know it was heavily commercialised in the early and mid 20th century, with much of the celebration having its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced Soh-nn).

Samhain celebrated the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter, the dark time of the year that was often associated with death.  The Celts believed that at this time of year the gap between the spiritual world and the physical world would draw closer – a thin place where humans walked in two worlds, and where the ghosts of those departed would be more likely to return to.

This is where much of the modern, secular versions of Halloween come from.  But for centuries before its commercialisation, Christians observed the holy days of All Hallows (Saints) and All Souls Day on November 1 and 2.  All Hallows Eve (October 31) was reserved for the remembrance of family members who had passed away, along with prayers and fasting ahead of the feast days.

Headshot of Paul Blom, male with glasses and beard smiling
Paul Blom – Catholic Educator

Paul Blom is a Catholic educator and says that for his family, it’s a time of year for remembering the traditional Christian observances.

“November is the month set aside to remember the dead, and in a special way we are invited to remember our family and friends who have died, especially those who have passed away in the previous year.  We can also extend those thoughts in a wider sense, by remembering and thanking those that have positively influenced us in our lives.”

Paul also said that there are a number of ways that Christians can use the secular version of Halloween to remind them of the religious and spiritual meaning of the original celebrations.

“Perhaps you can remember the sacrifice of Jesus, and more importantly, his resurrection that brings heaven closer to our reality.

“Take time to pray and remember those who have played an important part in your life’s journey, and who have formed you into the person you are today.

“Find a quiet place of solitude, where you can gather treasured memories and remember those who have shown us wisdom, those who stood by us, believed in you or encouraged your faith.”

Article supplied with thanks to 96five.

Photo by: Haley Phelps on Unsplash

‘Created and Loved’ – Principles Guiding All Christian Schools

By: 96five

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has released a guide on gender and identity which has been welcomed by Christian schools across Australia. Read more

‘Ruby’s Choice’ Gives Hope and Purpose to Families Impacted by Dementia

By: Steff Willis, 96five

In 2022, there are an estimated 487,500 Australians living with dementia* – making new Australian film ‘Ruby’s Choice’ a timely conversation starter, on the impact of dementia on Australian families.

Read more

Review of Funding for School Chaplaincy Underway

By: Steff Willis

An independent evaluation will assess the effectiveness of chaplaincy in supporting the wellbeing of school students and the broader school community. Read more

How to be a Great Dad: Tips for Fathers, Download Free Toolkit

By: Steff Willis

Fathers play a pivotal role in families and yet sometimes, their value can be underplayed.
Read more

How Obedience and the Kindness of God Led to the Solo Album, ‘TAYA’

By: Steff Willis

While most are familiar with Taya’s voice from songs like the multi-platinum Hillsong UNITED track, Oceans (Where Feet May Fail), it’s been a long time since Taya has written her own songs. Read more

London Burns as the UK Battles Record-Breaking Heatwave

By: Justin Rouillon

With the temperature topping 40 degrees in London, fires have broken out across both the capital and the countryside as the country deals with what meteorologists had previously thought impossible. Read more

‘Momentum’ Building as Podcast Helps Men Do Life Better

By: Jess Drummond

Momentum is a radio show and a podcast designed to encourage and support men and help them to “do life better”.

Read more

Singer Levi McGrath is Breaking Down Barriers in Hearts & Minds

By: Emelyne Sezerano

Australian singer-songwriter Levi McGrath talks about his new single Tear the Walls Down featuring Eliza King, and the work he does for the outback community. Read more

The Top 10 Bluey Episodes to Revisit With Your Kids

By: Justin Rouillon

The wait is over, with new episodes of the award winning ABC Kids show now airing. Read more