Happy Halloween_ The by lonyoo


									October 31, 2009 | New Orleans



Halloween actually traced to Christian connection



appy Halloween! The celebration of Halloween is not a holiday that dies with childhood. On the contrary, Halloween is a popular night for college students to dress up in costumes, have parties, and even trick or treat for free candy and food. Whenever candy and food is an option, you can guarantee that there will be a surplus of college students. Many people do not know the history of Halloween and are surprised to find that it has Catholic roots. For many, Halloween is synonymous with costumes, candy, supernatural occurrences, etc., but

they fail to realize that there is a Christian connection to one of the scariest nights of the year. According to the History Channel’s “Ancient Origins,” the origins of Halloween lie within the ancient Celtic tribes, who believed that Nov. 1 marked the beginning of a new year and the coming of winter. However, the night before, Oct. 31, they celebrated the festival of Samhain, the Lord of the Dead. The Celtics believed that on that night souls of the dead returned to mingle with the living. In order to scare away evil spirits, the people wore masks and lit bonfires. When the Romans conquered the Celtics, they added their own cultural influences to the festival of Samhain. Praising Pomona, the Roman goddess of the orchards, the Romans bobbed for apples and used apples in

decorations for the holiday. The Christian influence on the holiday occurred in 835 when Pope Gregory IV attempted to Christianize the pagan holiday by moving the celebration for all martyrs to Nov. 1. The night before became known as All Hallow’s Eve, which was later shortened to Halloween. Today the Church celebrates the feast of All Saints Day on Nov. 1, and, on Nov. 2, the Church celebrates the feast of All Souls Day in remembrance of all those who have died. Today, many people get caught up in the secularized version of Halloween. In fact, when I Googled “Halloween costumes for 2009,” the first few results that came up had some type of adult costume mentioned, indulging underage fantasy. Instead of All Hallow’s Eve, the holiday has become rather hollow,

following in the secularized fashion of our society. The purpose behind the Christian celebration of Halloween has been lost, leaving in its place the pre-Christian superstition regarding the dead. Recently, there has been a surge in supernatural entertainment – from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series and the HBO show “True Blood” – all of which will make some sort of appearance in the neighborhood streets. It really is important to distinguish the difference between the superficial attitude behind Halloween and the religious

undertones of the holiday. Yes, Halloween can be a fun and exciting night – but we must also remember that it is a night to prepare ourselves for the upcoming feast days celebrating and remembering the saints and the deceased. Halloween is like our Mardi Gras before the seriousness of Lent – it is a night in which we can laugh and dress up and have a good time, but it should also be a time of preparation in celebration of the double feast days ahead: All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Heather Bozant can be reached at hbozant@clarion herald.org.

World Youth Day draws 2,000
Korey Banks, left, a senior at Cabrini High and a member of Teen C.R.O.S.S. (Catholics Reaching Out in Selfless Service) kicks up her heels during a musical icebreaker at World Youth Day, held Oct. 25 at Loyola University. The Sisters, Servants of Mary, below left, were among the Catholic exhibitors who gave out vocational information at World Youth Day’s outdoor ministry fair. Archbishop Aymond, below, was on hand throughout the daylong conference. The archbishop performed in the opening skit, met with adult youth ministers and chaperones, and served as the celebrant-homilist at the closing Mass.

Photos by Beth Donze | CLARION HERALD

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