Halloween as a word is Christian, but the roots of the holiday itself are often times thought to be Pagan. Yet, Halloween does have influence and relation to the all Saints Day Christian holiday. So why is does the Catholic Church steer away from this holiday? Mainly because many Catholics equate this day with it being centered around satanic and evil things and they find it offensive and going against their religious belief system.
It appears that this holiday had its roots in the Celtic community as November 1st was considered the Celtic New Year. The belief then was that on the day before, the spirits of the deceased (both evil and good), would wander the earth. During this time, many would create bonfires and dress in costumes to keep the dead away and protect themselves. Some even wore masks as a way of scaring those wandering souls from coming close. Thereafter, pagan Romans added the trick or treat practice as this was a celebratory harvest time for them.
On a more decorous scale and throughout history, there have been many symbols that have gained momentum and have quickly become associated with this popular day. The symbols themselves depend upon what part of the world one resides in. For example, in North America the Pumpkin is often a popular symbol and in Ireland the turnip is symbolic of Halloween as a whole.
When it comes to the Catholic Church and their stance and feelings about Halloween, the Church in many aspects is divided. Some in the Catholic Church believe that Halloween is nothing more than a harmless holiday where children dress up and collect candy by going door to door with their friends. There are others in the Catholic community that see this totally different. They view Halloween as being devilish, evil, Satanic in nature and going against their core beliefs and tend to see this Holiday as being harmful. They believe it is a day highly pegged with Pagan rituals and that it should be abolished.
From a Christian and Pagan aspect, many feel that both Worlds come together through a ritualistic perspective. This has caused much debate over the celebration and participation in Halloween festivities. It’s also important to note that historically speaking, when it comes to the literal occult aspects of Halloween, much of the belief regarding demons and ghosts can be traced back to having some roots in Catholicism. Still, there is much strong opposition from the Catholic Church regarding Halloween today due to the many ghoulish festivities that take place. Many Catholics believe that Halloween promotes sinister and evil behavior that could harm children and thus it should be removed or frowned upon as a holiday.
It’s also important to note that another reason for strong opposition to Halloween comes from the celebratory aspects of the Pagan and Wiccan culture. Many, if not all Pagans and Wiccans in general, believe that Halloween is a time when the vortex opens between this world and the next and special wishes or powers can be given and granted. It this is true, then it can be stated that for Pagans and Wiccans, Halloween is in many ways as important to them as Christmas is to Christians.
Catholics are truly divided regarding Halloween, but for the most part the holiday itself will continue to be frowned upon by those in authoritative positions within the Church. As long as there is a free thinking society; however, Halloween will most likely continue to be a holiday of controversy.