The word Halloween might be traced back to the 1550’s and is a Scottish version of All-Hallows-Eve or written as “ealra hālgena mæssedæg” in Old English. The tradition though is much older than that. The ancient Celts in Ireland and parts of Scotland 2500 – 1500 years ago had four big divisions of the year which they notified. After the harvest season on October 31st the winter season began and the Celts believed that spirits and ghosts of old dead people could return to Earth on the night after October 31st. To keep the deity of Death Samhain and the ghosts away the Druids lit big bonfires and the people could come to the Druids and get coal to light their own house fires that night. One tradition connected to this was that people who were out walking brought a hollowed pumpkin with lights inside and a carved face. That pumpkin head was eventually called “Jack o’-lantern”, and symbolised Jack the Smith who had been very cruel and forbidden to come to Heaven. Jack also tricked the Devil and wasn’t allowed in Hell either. That’s why he had to walk around the globe as a zombie with a lit pumkin light. A bit like the pumpkin head in the drawing above which I made last night.
The Celts had various gods, but in the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. the Celts were Christened by Anglo-Saxon and German missionaries. Europe gradually turned Christian over the following centuries, and the Christians did not commemorate the death-god Samhain, but they did commemorate the memory of their dead relatives and especially Christian martyrs, the Saints. Pope Gregory I asked his missionaries not to try to wipe out the old traditions, but instead use them and make them Christian by merging Christian ideas and traditions with the Pagan ones. In the 8th century Pope Gregory III moved All Hallow’s Day (All Holy people’s Day) from May to November 1st. Hence October 31st became All Hallow’s Eve. In 998 the Christians again tried to wipe out the Pagan Samhain festivities, but didn’t succeed. However the Pope moved All Hallow’s Day to November 2d to make it a day for commemorating dead relatives, just as we do today.
From the 1840’s to the 1860’s there was a severe famine in Ireland, due to rotten potato harvests, the so called potato plague. Many Irish people migrated to the USA and took their own traditions with them, among them Halloween. The American Halloween celebration has however also been influenced by other European groups in the USA. Dutch immigrants e.g. had a strong belief in spirits and super-natural beings. Germans in Pennsylvania celebrated Christmas in a way that resembled Halloween, and the Brittish immigrants or descendants celebrated Guy Fawke’s Day on November 5th. Their celebration derived from the early 1600’s also looked a lot like Halloween. They built a big doll which they put on fire, candy was eaten, they used fireworks and the children were allowed that day to tease the adults. The Scots in America disguised themselves on Halloween and walked from door to door asking for presents. At the end of the 19th century rationalism began being important and old folklore traditions and superstitions were out. All the same the celebration continued. During the 1920’s the Lions, the scouting movement and Rotary kept the Halloween alive, and from the 1950’s the commercial powers saw the tradition of trick or treat as a topic to make big business of so Halloween turned into a child-accepting family holiday of light and spooky costumes.
To Sweden Halloween came to a few places in Stockholm in the early 1960’s with American merchants, films and an Americanization of the Swedish youth culture. In 1961 the police was called to interfer with a wild Halloween party in Stockholm. It would take another 30 years though before Halloween would begin to enter the Swedish society for real. By 1997 the Swedish newspapers began to notice the Halloween festivities, along with shops and larger malls. From the early 21st century until today Halloween has become a widely spread phenomenon all over Sweden, sometimes separated from other times merged with the Swedish Allhelgona Celebrations. Halloween in Sweden is mostly a youth phenomenon, seen at Halloween parties, in primary school and sometimes trick or treat-walks, even though not that common. The Swedish equivalent to that – small kids dressed as minor witches walking their candy walk from house to house at Easter is much more common. This celebration of Halloween is nothing that I as a follower of Jesus Christ can accept, and I happen to know that this mostly pagan day and night is used by Satanists=Luciferians, witches and other dark magicians to perform dark cermonies, putting hexes on people, sacrificing kidnapped animals and humans (especially children), in Diabolic blood rituals to Satan. This is no innocent holliday, but should be neglected alltogether, or be used for honouring our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
In Swedish we call All Hallows Eve / Alla Helgons Afton or Allhelgona afton. Hence All Hallow’s Day is Alla Helgons Dag or Allhelgonadagen. When All Hallow’s Day on November 2d 998 was made officially a Christian day for remembering and honouring our dead relatives that day has become an important day for Christians in the Swedish society. Sweden gradually was christened during the Middle Ages, and officially between 1000 and 1100 A.D., even if old Pagan beliefs lingered on in folklore here too under the surface and merged with the official Christian dogmas. The date has changed slightly, but from 1772 Allhelgonadagen was proclaimed to be November 1st. In 1953 it was proclaimed to be the first Saturday in November. The Friday before the real Alla helgons dag is called Allhelgonaafton. The entire weekend Friday to Sunday is referred to as Allhelgonahelgen. Lights are lit on the grave yards, a tradition since the early 1800’s. This weekend is in many Christian countries also used to celebrate the Christian martyrs and/or Saints. Which saints vary from different parts of the Christian world, the Roman Catholic, the Greek, Serb, Russian Orthodox, the Syrian Orthodox, the Egyptian Coptic, the Ethiopian, and other churches. Since the Swedish church belongs to the Reform Lutheran tradition since the 1500’s the Saints are played down, and more focus has been put on remembering our own deceased relatives and other people who have passed away. So did I today when I went to the local church to light candles for my dear ones in memoriam and others as well as for some contemplation. The texts used in the Swedish church this weekend are Job 17: 15-16, Matthew 5: 1-16, Luke 20: 37-38, John 6: 37-40, The Corinthian letter 15: 35-49 and the Book of Revelations 7: 17-19. All the same the Saints have been and are important for many different churches and I end this piece with a wish of peace for you all, and a couple of sketches of Christian Saints from the beginning of the 3d and 4th centuries A.D. Take good care whether you are Christians or not, believers or not. However, I wish to once again warn the readers for celebrating this dark holiday Halloween which actually in its essence celebrates death and Satan. The dark spirits are real, Satan is real, and he rules the world through deceptions, temptations, lies, alluring and enticing life styles and customs, but they have damning and dangerous consequences. Jesus Christ is our only Saviour, he is the Way, Truth and Life itself. Follow him, and turn to him instead of Satan. Jesus the Messiah is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Creator of us and the whole universe. Follow him, not the Dark guy, because he is a decieving fake.
Anders Moberg, November 1st 2013