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  • Thursday, October 27, 2005


    Halloween Hijinx

    Halloween, beloved of fundamentalist Christians as the holiday of Satan and evil, a signpost indicating the wicked decadence of American society. The non-Christian origins of the holiday are fairly well known and trotted out in "informative" articles in the weeks before Halloween. Mistakes are still made though. These articles still often refer to "Lord Samhain, a Celtic God of the Dead" who only seems to exist in some fevered Christian imaginations rather than in historical fact.

    Isaac Bonewits has a fairly thorough debunking of the popular myths in an article called Halloween Errors and Lies (or, What Fundamentalist Christians don'’t want you to know, revision 4.6.) It may actually be more information than you ever wanted to know about Halloween but Mr. Bonewits research is very good with links to many external sources. As a sample, he mentions that the pre-Christian Celts didn't even have a "God of the Dead," much less that his name was Samhain. A related but separate article by the same author is The Real Origins of Halloween.

    I found a surprising defense of allowing Muslim children to participate in Halloween activities by a Canadian Muslim. While I don't have the knowledge of Islam to either agree or disagree with him, he seems to make some valid points in What's Wrong With Halloween? I suggest checking it out because I think understanding the theological basis of different religions' points of view is important. I'm a comparative religions kind of guy.

    And the scariest thing about Halloween? Our fears about death and how far we'll go to deny the reality of our mortality. "Don't fear the Reaper" indeed.

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