C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Helloween

Yes, it is spelt that way in the title on purpose. How do you consider Halloween personally? Do you see it as a pagan holiday, religious holiday, or simply just a day for you and/or your children to enjoy dressing up in costumes, walking around the neighborhood collecting a bucket full of candies, and maybe visiting a haunted house or two as all innocent fun?

“The modern holiday of Halloween has its origins in the ancient Gaelic festival known as Samhain.” Samhain (“the word for November in the Gaelic languages”) has origins as being “used for a month in the ancient Celtic calendar, in particular the first three nights of this month, with the festival marking the end of the summer season and the end of the harvest.” It appears that the Gaulish calendar (noting “the Gauls practiced a form of animism,” the worship of animals, and “perhaps the most intriguing facet of Gallic religion is the practice of the Druids.”) was set to the belief that the year was divided into “the 'dark' half, beginning with the month Samonios (the October/November lunation), and the 'light' half, beginning with the month Giamonios (the April/May lunation).” “The Samhain celebrations have survived in several guises as a festival dedicated to the harvest and the dead. In Ireland and Scotland, the Féile na Marbh, the 'festival of the dead' took place on Samhain.”

“Samhain is observed by various Neopagans in various ways. As forms of Neopaganism can be quite different and have very different origins, these representations can vary considerably despite the shared name. Some Neopagans have elaborate rituals to honor the dead, and the deities who are associated with the dead in their particular culture or tradition.”

“Samhain is one of the eight annual holidays, often referred to as 'Sabbats', observed as part of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It is considered by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four 'greater Sabbats'. It is generally observed on October 31st in the Northern Hemisphere, starting at sundown. Samhain is considered by most Wiccans as a celebration of death and of the dead, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness and death, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of life and fertility.”

“As October 31 is the last day of the bright half of the year, the next day also marked the beginning of winter, which the Celts often associated with death, and with the slaughter of livestock to provide meat for the coming winter. The Celts believed that on October 31, the boundary separating the dead from the living became blurred. There is a rich and unusual myth system at work here; the spirit world, the residence of the "Sídhe", as well as of the dead, was accessible through burial mounds. These mounds were opened twice during the year, on Samhain and Beltane, making the beginning and end of summer spiritually resonant.”

“The term Halloween (and its alternative rendering Hallowe'en) is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the eve of "All Hallows' Day", also which is now known as All Saints' Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints' Day from May 13 to November 1. In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints' Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day.”

“Halloween did not become a holiday in the United States until the 19th century, where lingering Puritan tradition restricted even the observance of Christmas prior to the 1800s. American almanacs of the late 18th and early 19th centuries do not include Halloween in their lists of holidays. The transatlantic migration of nearly two million Irish following the Irish Potato Famine (1845–1849) finally brought the holiday to the United States. Scottish emigration from the British Isles, primarily to Canada before 1870 and to the United States thereafter, brought the Scottish version of the holiday to each country.”

“There is little primary documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween in the United States or elsewhere, prior to 1900. Mass-produced Halloween costumes did not appear in stores until the 1930s, and trick-or-treating did not become a fixture of the holiday until the 1950s.”

“Halloween is now the United States' second most popular holiday (after Christmas) for decorating; the sale of candy and costumes are also extremely common during the holiday, which is marketed to children and adults alike. According to the National Retail Federation, the most popular Halloween costume themes for adults are, in order: witch, pirate, vampire, cat and clown.”

“The jack-o'-lantern can be traced back to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a greedy, gambling, hard drinking old farmer who tricked the devil into climbing a tree, and trapped him by carving a cross into the trunk of the tree. In revenge, the devil placed a curse on Jack which dooms him to forever wander the earth at night.” “But in America the tradition of carving pumpkins is known to have preceded the Great Famine period of Irish immigration, and the tradition of carving vegetable lanterns may also have been brought over by the Scottish or English; documentation is unavailable to establish when or by whom. The carved pumpkin was associated generally with harvest time in America, and did not become specifically associated with Halloween until the mid to late 19th century.”

“The main event for children of modern Halloween in the United States and Canada is trick-or-treating, in which children disguise themselves in costumes and go door-to-door in their neighborhoods, ringing each doorbell and yelling "trick or treat!" to solicit the usual gift of candies. Although the practice resembles the older traditions of guising in Ireland and Scotland, ritual begging on Halloween does not appear in English-speaking North America until the 20th century, and may have developed independently.”

“In North America, Christian attitudes towards Halloween are quite diverse. The fact that All Saints Day and Halloween occur on two consecutive days has left some Christians uncertain of how they should treat this holiday. In the Anglican Church, some dioceses have chosen to emphasize the Christian traditions of All Saints Day, while some Protestants celebrate the holiday as Reformation Day, a day of remembrance and prayers for unity. Celtic Christians may have Samhain services that focus on the cultural aspects of the holiday, in the belief that many ancient Celtic customs are "compatible with the new Christian religion. Christianity embraced the Celtic notions of family, community, the bond among all people, and respect for the dead. Throughout the centuries, pagan and Christian beliefs intertwine in a gallimaufry (hodgepodge) of celebrations from October 31 through November 5, all of which appear both to challenge the ascendancy of the dark and to revel in its mystery."”






Click above to see what Chick Publications suggest.

A litte more history.

18 comments:

BEAST said...

Tim

I honestly do not understand how you can ascribe the "writer" tag beside your name: You write a very short and erroneous introduction,cut and paste articles wholesale, then end the article without leaving us a shred of clue as with regards to the point of your post.

You charge a couple of bucks for your la Ciudad book. Well, guess what, I will pay you that amount for you to stop writing. You are an absolute disgrace to writers like me.

Beast

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

I am sorry you missed the point of my post, but it was right there in what you called my "very short and erroneous introduction" and the title. I simply pulled some history from wikipedia, and have now added the link incase some couldn't follow the links throughout the post already there, and assume I am trying to take credit of another's writings.

Actually I don't charge anything for the La Ciudad book. That is the cost from the publisher, I receive no money from any sales of it. If you want, you can even download the pdf for free, or the whole book is availabe in the preview window. :)

This post was simply to give a little history of Halloween, and allow the reader to decide for themselves - "Do you see it as a pagan holiday, religious holiday, or simply just a day for you and/or your children to enjoy."

Enjoy - you know the majority of my posts are not simply cut and paste as this one was.

There are plenty of various writers in this world, covering every topic imaginable by man. Do you really believe in the grand scale of things our blogs are shaping this world? We are but a speck in life. If you enjoy writing, I say write, and enjoy it. And so will I continue to write, for I enjoy it, and simply because you disagree or dislike my writing, it will not cause me to cease. For it is interesting that as much as you claim to dispise Christianity, me, and my writings, you seem to be my most faithful reader. :)

BEAST said...

Cutting and pasting whole swaths of words from wikipedia.... I call that plagiarism.

As for being a "faithful" reader of your blog, it seems that you have alleviated yourself somewhat. Your posts amuse me in a macabre sort of way... you know how it is like when you first attend your first biology class, screaming away as the teacher dissects a frog, only to start enjoying it once you have attained a certain sadistic taste for it? Duh. I guess you won't understand. Ya just a freaking preacher of kids.

I have read the first two pages of your online book....frankly, you need an editor. I have recently completed an online book myself, and frankly I know how hard it is to edit the stuff you write. I advise you to read through what you have written and correct all those silly grammatical errors (assuming you know what grammar means).

Beast

BEAST said...

There is a good reason why I dislike your writing. You can't write. Period.

My suggestion: Go back to elementary school, get your grammar, preposition, verbs, tenses and every basic tenet of the English language right, before you even contemplate to write anything. From what I have observed, you are probably home-schooled, and that explains for your very atrocious grasp of your mother tongue (I do not assume that you know another language).

Beast

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

Plagiarism - honestly, I put it all in quotes, have links to the articles, and do not claim it to be my original work, nor am I making money from it.

I agree, my Mexico journal does contain grammatical errors, but anyone that reads it for the right purpose will clearly get the message it conveys.

And not to cast a stone too hard at you, but your grammar also needs a bit of work, so noted by some of your comments here and your own posts at your blog.

The idea of writing is to continue to improve your skills. We both need improvement, and so it will come with experience and continued writing.

BEAST said...

Utter rubbish. My grammar is impeccable. The minor mistakes that you see on my posts on your blog are a direct result of careless typing.

Please do not compare your standard of English with mine. Anyone worth his salt will be able to see the gulf of difference between your blog and mine.

Beast

BEAST said...

In your case, practice is useless. Because you do not have the basic foundations, and I am not saying this to spite you.

Your posts are lacking in fluency, as well as the basics that I have mentioned. I can't fathom how the hell you are going to impart anything to children. Frankly I am quite appalled that your church gives you the post of director. This is preposterous.

Beast

BEAST said...

That Mexican book.....going into the second page it was almost a pain to read.......no fluency, no constancy, poor English, etc.

Pathetic is the right word. And no, please don't ever compare yourself to me. You are not in my league.

Beast

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

So much anger, really it shouldn’t be so.

I first pondered to delete your posts simply ranting at me, but I shall allow them.

Maybe one day you will revisit them and realize there is really no need for such a continuous negative dialogue.

BEAST said...

Well. In a way, its an honest opinion and assessment of your capabilities.

My curiosity remains: Can I know where and when you were educated? Were you home schooled by Christian parents? If you don't mind, I'd like to know, so I can understand where all this ignorance is coming from.

Beast

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

I am a product of the public school system, and one that didn't care much for reading and English classes (though I graduated with A's and B's). Good thing God can use all kinds of persons, from all walks of life. The point is not if we are prefect now, but if we are working toward being better, learning from our mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

"Go back to elementary school, get your grammar, preposition, verbs, tenses and every basic tenet of the English language right, before you even contemplate to write anything." - Beast, I like how you end a sentence directly ridiculing someone else's grammar with the phrase 'comtemplate to write anything', which is grammatically incorrect.
Aren't you guys missing the real point of this particular post? Using Halloween to witness to children is NOT okay. Witnessing to children is not EVER okay, especially if they're not yours. You can ruin your own children however you want to, but if my child came home with one of those, you can be sure I would ask them where they got it and go confront that person. Have you SEEN some of those pamphlets?! There's one where a child gets hit by a car! That would terrify and confuse even the most Christianly raised child, don't you think?
Witnessing to kids isn't fair because they're predisposed to believing ANYTHING. That's why they still believe in Santa, and in ghosts, and in the Tooth Fairy. They can't reason things out logically for themselves because they don't have all the facts. How would you like it if your child came home from school crying and upset because a Jewish child gave them a piece of literature stating that Jesus WASN'T the son of God, and that if you follow him, you'll go to hell? Parents who cram religion down their children's throats are doing them a diservice, but people who cram religion down OTHER people's children's throats? They ought to be ashamed.

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

anonymous,

So a child reading/seeing a child get hit by a car in a pamphlet is more horrific that a child seeing the costumes and actions of *some* persons celebrating Halloween? Does your child (or children) ever see violence on television or movies, even some children (so-called) movies and games? Do you also keep your children from these?

Are not parents that cram "there is no God" down the child's throat doing them a disservice? For even Dawkins acknowledges [1] science cannot prove/disprove God, and [2] there is no way to determine 100% there is no God.

Are you ashamed? Or, is it okay because that is what you believe?

Tim

Anonymous said...

I am not ashamed because I don't go around telling other people's children that there is no God. I also don't give out little pamphlets to them on Halloween saying that there is no God. As I said, tell your own child what you will, but do NOT impose your beliefs on other people's children. Imposing your beliefs on adults is bad enough. And no, I'm not going to keep my children from violent movies/video games/what have you forever, but I certainly hope that I will have instilled in them a knowledge that those things are all FICTION, and that no one is actually getting hurt. These comics purport that, even if you are a good person, if you don't accept Jesus as your saviour you will burn in Hell for eternity. Of COURSE if you tell that to a child they'll be terrified, and they might even say "I believe in Jesus!" but it's not because they DO, it's because they're terrified of Hell. It's akin to saying "If you don't eat your vegetables, the monster in your closet will eat you!" Does it work? Probably. Is it right to terrify a child into submission? No.

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

This is why the gospel witness is the good news that Jesus Christ came to live a sinless life, taking our punishment on the cross, so by grace through faith we may repent of sin and trust in Christ to receive forgiveness and eternal life.

I agree, though hell is real and a place of punishment for those who willfully reject God, there is no need to terrify the children into simply mimicking words. Children can come to Christ by being shown the love of God, whereby He desires to love them, as they put their faith in Christ.

Not all Christian literature and tracts portray violent themes, nor terrifying circumstances, but surely you know this already.

And television is full of imposing beliefs on others, so you should probably not let your child watch that either.

What if your child goes to school and tells another child their parent told them there is no God? Does it not come from you? My child was in first grade and just in her class they would argue whether Santa Claus was real or not. How do you suppose the world can escape the witness of others to our children, or our witness to others?

Anonymous said...

This is getting a little bit more personal than I would have hoped, but just for the record, I don't explicitly tell my child that there is NO God, I simply don't say that there IS one. She is still young yet, so she hasn't really started asking questions about it, but if one day she comes to me and asks me "Mom, I heard all these kids talking about 'Jesus', who is that?", I will explain it to her. I will tell her about Christianity, and Judaism, and Islam, and Buddism, and Wicca, and every other kind of religion that I can get information about. And if she decides, based on looking at ALL the objective facts NOT having been influenced by me since birth to believe one specific set of them, that one of those religions speaks to her, then I will be happy and support her in that.
And you are correct - we really cannot ever truly escape having other people's beliefs pushed onto us. What I'm advocating is not letting adults push beliefs onto CHILDREN. A child that tells another child in the schoolyard "My mom said Jesus isn't real" is far less damaging (well, damaging if you want to your child to believe Jesus was the son of God) than, say, a teacher saying to that child "Jesus isn't real." You know?

BEAST said...

Anonymous:

Last I checked, that is not a grammar error.

Beast

BEAST said...

"Are not parents that cram "there is no God" down the child's throat doing them a disservice? "

Straightforward answer: No. That is the only rational response to the reality of existence.

Beast

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.