Nov 1, 2010

All Hallow Mass

For several days now I planned to blog on Samhain and the evolution of Halloween. But Halloween came and went and I never got to it. But truly, there are many good posts you could have read about the Celtic festival of Samhain, like this one or this one. (The last one is thanks to Lillian who posted the link on the Celtic Christian Spirituality forum, and there is more of the discussion there you might want to check out.)

In short, Samhain, pronounced sow-en, is the Celtic recognition of the dark half of the year and is considered to be the most important Celtic festival. It's a time when it was believed that those departed could walk among those living. It's a recognition of the thinness of the spiritual separation, and a time when mysterious and magical things can happen.

When Christianity emerged, this celebration easily merged into All Hallow Mass or All Saints Day, a time to recognize those saints who have gone on to heaven. (The night before became All Hallow Eve, and then Halloween.)

Many Christians want to ignore Halloween and celebrate a fall harvest. I'm all for forgoing the horror and all. But I think Halloween and Christianity are connected, and to ignore Halloween is to ignore this wondrous conversion of a pagan tradition into a Christian one--not a compromise, but rather focusing on what the people always knew was true about God--that the spiritual world is near.

So as my thoughts turn to All Saints Day, I think about those who have gone to heaven ahead of me and realize that they are not far away. God is with them; God is with me.

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