Halloween + Religion = scary topic

Typically there are three sets of people regarding Halloween:

  1. The all-out crazies who adore everything about Oct. 31, from dressing up to the scary themes, and don’t forget their precious candy.
  2. The ones completely against the holiday whether it be for religious reasons or the fear factor or something else
  3. Those who are indifferent and couldn’t care less either way the mop flops.

Some people in the religious community don’t celebrate Halloween, but rather Reformation Day (Oct. 31, 1517; the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany and sparked the reformation in Christian churches). Parties are held, the movie Luther is often played and some dress up as their favorite Reformation character, all in honor of Reformation Day.

To some this sounds ridiculous and as far-fetched as a horse driving a golf cart, but to others it is their way of separating themselves from the mass of trick-or-treaters and Halloween lovers instead of trying to sanitize the sometimes dark holiday (Zec, Christianity Forum).

For others, Oct. 31 is a religious holiday as well, but not because of the Reformation.

In a blog for CNN, Christine Hoff Kraemer, managing editor of the Patheos.com Pagan Channel and an instructor in Theology and Religious History at Cherry Hill Seminary, said American Pagans are inspired both by the ancient Celtic Samhain and the Mexican Day of the Dead.

“In Paganism, death is seen as part of a natural cycle. Every fall, farmers harvest the crops that feed us, and then the plants begin to die. The death of the crops in winter is necessary to help fertilize the land and prepare for another year’s growth. This cycle of growth and death sustains human life. Human life and death are often seen similarly, as part of a natural cycle. We are born, we make contributions to our families and communities, we raise children and then we pass away so that those children can make the world their own.”

Kraemer continued on to say  Halloween need not be a whirlwind of frantic social obligations and expensive purchases.

“Nor do you have to be Pagan to remember those who have passed over, or to make peace with your own mortality. This Samhain, I invite you to decorate not just with ghosts or witches, but also with photographs of your beloved dead. Buy a bouquet of your grandmother’s favorite flowers, and invite friends to cook old family recipes for a Halloween potluck. Tell the family stories that your children or your spouse may have never heard; light candles, dim the lamps and listen to the wind. This year, let Halloween once again be a time for family and friends, and for welcoming the dark.”

So for the groups of people who aren’t 100 percent committed to celebrating the spooky holiday, there are other options available to them.

Sources:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christandpopculture/2009/10/how-to-celebrate-reformation-day-without-being-weird/
http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/ss/halloweenaltern_10.htm
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/31/my-faith-reclaiming-halloweens-religious-roots/

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