Are you celebrating Halloween or All Saints?

Homily Excerpt for November 1st - Solemnity of All Saints

by Fr. Tommy Lane

The day before All Saints is called Halloween in the secular world. The name is Christian. Halloween means the Eve of All Hallows (All Hallows Even), the Eve of All Saints, but that is the only Christian element in it. All the rest that accompanies Halloween is of pagan origin so it goes back to the time before Christianity. It was a pagan Celtic feast. They believed that after sunset on Samhain, which we now called Halloween, the spirits of the dead and evil spirits roamed the skies seeking to harm humans, especially if the dead had been harmed by them. To protect themselves people disguised themselves by dressing up in costumes and carried lights inside in turnips. In order to turn a pagan feast into a Christian feast, the Church placed the feast of All Saints on November 1st, to coincide with the pagan celebration. Children have fun on Halloween now but it would be a pity if children did not know the Christian feast at this time, the feast of All Saints. So if your children are celebrating Halloween and know nothing about All Saints, please explain All Saints to them. We are Christians now, so let us not celebrate as pagans. The Church has tried to turn a pagan celebration into a Christian celebration. Is the reverse happening again now? Let us celebrate All Saints.

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for November 1st - Solemnity of All Saints

The saints have reproduced in their lives Jesus’ victory on the cross over evil

The Communion of Saints and our glorious future

The Saints remind us who we are and their spiritual growth encourages us

We are united with the Saints in Heaven during this Mass - we join their liturgy in Heaven

Related Homilies: On the Beatitudes: Jesus’ Prescription for Happiness

Second Reading related: Love of God for us 2009

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