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What Does Halloween Mean to You?

The history of Halloween may change your outlook.


Who thought of a holiday filled with candy, pumpkins, haunted houses and chili, but also the holiday of superstition – Halloween.

Halloween originated during the Middle Ages when the Celtics, a group of pre-Christians from Ireland, considered Oct. 31, or Samhain, to be the end of summer harvest and the start of a long winter.

The reason it is now considered a superstitious holiday is because the Celtics put out food and drinks and opened their windows and doors to give spirits of family and friends a free passage into their homes.

The Celtics believed that during this holiday there was a thin line between the living and the dead. There were not only spirits of family and friends, but also harmful spirits.

Wearing costumes was important to ward off those harmful spirits. The more frightening a disguise was, the more the harmful spirits would want to leave them alone.

In addition to the festive event with a fire, food and costumes, cats are symbolic of Halloween because they represented people who once lived and as punishment for evil deeds were reincarnated as a cat.

Julie Beehler, a junior at Missouri Baptist University, suggests that it is all right to participate in Halloween, but some things should be left out in order to lead by a Christian example.

“I do not have strong feelings against Halloween,” Beehler said in an email.

“However, my mom would never let us dress up as witches, etc. and I will definitely have that rule when I have children someday. It is more enjoyable to remove the scary or satanic aspects and enjoy fall fests and carnivals at churches.”

Later, when the Romans took over the Celtic land around A.D. 43, Christianity began to spread. Nov. 1 became known as All Saints Day and the night before was considered Hallowmas – meaning All Hallows Eve.

Christians attempted to change the view of Halloween and create a memorial event in honor of those who had passed away. Despite their efforts to make Halloween a holy event, Christians still practiced the same customs.

Of course, over the years, Halloween has evolved into a more festive and fun event rather than a holy event. However, we still practice some of the same traditions as far as dressing up in costumes, decorating with jack-o-lanterns and collecting candy.

Even though early Halloween was characterized by fear and remembrance of the dead, Joshua Shands, a junior majoring in worship arts at MBU, views Halloween differently.

“It’s a fun time to dress up and enjoy food is all,” Shands said.

Former student Marci DeFonce would agree that it is a fun opportunity to be festive if candy is eaten at a minimum and traditional practices are left out.

“I have only been trick-or-treating once, so for me, it’s not all about the candy. My favorite part about Halloween is decorating my house,” said DeFonce. “It doesn’t mean that all decorations have to be evil. It’s a time to be festive and have fun.”

Victoria Wright

Victoria Wright, a senior public relations major from Festus, Mo., is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. Wright enjoys drawing, photography, blogging and swimming. Currently, Wright has a photography internship with the St. Louis Blues. After graduation, Wright plans to head to New York in the field of fashion PR while working toward a master's degree in marketing.

@mbutimeline

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