Samhain (pronounced ‘sow’inn’) is a very important date in the Pagan calendar for it marks the Feast of the Dead. Many Pagans also celebrate it as the old Celtic New Year (although some mark this at Imbolc). It is also celebrated by non-Pagans who call this festival Halloween.
Samhain has been celebrated in Britain for centuries and has its origin in Pagan Celtic traditions.. It was the time of year when the veils between this world and the Otherworld were believed to be at their thinnest: when the spirits of the dead could most readily mingle with the living once again. Later, when the festival was adopted by Christians, they celebrated it as All Hallows’ Eve, followed by All Saints Day, though it still retained elements of remembering and honouring the dead. (BBC Religions site)
There seems to be a growing trend in churches to somehow ‘redeem’ the pagan celebration of the ‘Day of the Dead’. Why is this so? Essentially, evangelical churches see these days as a means of reaching out to the community with the truth and light of Jesus Christ. Instead of getting involved in the usual trick or treat festivities, dressing up, eating weird food, lighting candles in pumpkins etc, some churches simply have an alternative celebration. They use this as a means of offering something else to their children so the kids don’t feel as though they are missing out. It also shows that the church is not opposed to celebration, but that they are celebrating in their own way.
We feel as though we are missing something here. You only have to regard the array of witches, ghosts and devilish characters which manifest in the form of decorations and disguises to know that something is not quite right. Many small children have been scared by people dressing up in frightening costumes, and some have even reported actually seeing demons manifest. Let us be clear, the bible makes no bones about demonic spirits. They are real, they were opposing and oppressing humans in Jesus day and during the New Testament era, they have not gone away, they are still here bothering humans. Paul advises us to put on the Armour of God so that we can fight against the principalities and powers which are arrayed against us. Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Rather than join him on his own ground, it would make more sense to battle him from the ground on which we already have authority. Rather than attempting to ‘redeem’ occult feast days which actually worship demonic spirits, which by the way has no basis in scripture, we are to simply carry on living holy lives, and knowing that the days are evil, we use the time to pray against the forces which are arrayed against us, and against those who innocently join in the ‘fun’.
A lot of the thinking behind taking occult feast days and somehow trying to use them for Christian activities is the same kind of thinking which causes believers to appease politically correct thought-nazis. We are not to be concerned about whom we will offend with the gospel. Nor are we to conform to the world (Romans 12:1-2). Pagan idolatory has been condemned in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and we are warned against it so vehemently that scripture tells us that idolators will not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9). If Churches are concerned about their presence in the community, rather than attempt to fight fire with fire, why not educate the community on the feast days of the Lord? Apart from the historical and spiritual insights the community would gain, some of the traditional food associated with some of those feasts are much better than anything we can come up with even on Christmas and Easter.
We think that the world has grown tired of their own cultural feasts, despite the fact that shops and commercial ventures make the most of any community celebration, anything from football games to Mothers day. We have spoken to a lot of people who complain that they are sick of Christmas. Christmas has become stressful, filled with family feuds and clashes and an overabundance of stuff nobody needs or wants. We can eat turkey, pudding, pies and cakes til the cows come home on any day of the week. We buy ourselves stuff every time we get a pay packet, and we can visit family or friends for any reason at all. Father Christmas is a lie, and its not even a cultural one, since most cultures don’t celebrate Christmas, but in western tradition, we do the whole thing because ‘we are supposed to’. The same holds true with Halloween. Australians never used to celebrate this very European and now American cultural day. We used to ignore it completely and it is really only in the last couple of decades that schools and families used to do anything with it. It is NOT a traditional day for us, it is simply the mindless assent to imported cultures which have nothing to do with our own.
We have enough of a problem battling demonic entities in our lives and Christian communities. Why oh why would we need to engage with them on this of all days? Signalling to the principalities and powers that you are happy to play with them merely communicates that you have stopped believing they exist. The best thing that could possibly happen in their opinion. The next best thing is for Christians to attempt to make Halloween a Christian celebration. Nothing could be more delightful for demons to infiltrate your congregations undercover. Why would you give Satan the kudos?
Our best means of fighting the enemy is to recognise him for who he is on this the most occult high day of the entire year. We then recognise our authority in Christ, stand against him with all of our might, and refuse to negotiate a treaty. We do not participate in Halloween, we do not give ground to anything which is roaming around on this or any other night of the year, and we particularly do not attempt to somehow claim the day as belonging to God. This defense above all apologetic is the most offensive. God made his own days, his own feast days and his own holy days. Do NOT attempt to conflate pagan idol worship with the days the Lord has set out for himself.
Any attempt to make out that this day is either just for fun and there are no such things as witches, or that witches don’t worship Satan, or that demons don’t exist etc is simply being ignorant of what the bible teaches. It will not protect you from what happens on the days leading up to Halloween and the day itself. This is a big deal in the occult world and it should be treated with the respect it deserves. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, and the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). Therefore we pray, we witness and we are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and we carry on as though this were any other day of the week. And if little children come knocking on the door, it is perfectly OK to simply explain that you are Christians and you don’t celebrate Halloween. In some communities if you are going to participate in Halloween you either put a porch light on or tie a balloon to your letterbox or use some other method of letting parents know that you are happy to hand out food. This is a good idea, but not everyone does it. You must decide for yourselves how to navigate this, and it is not easy, but the Holy Spirit will give you the direction you need.
We will continue to pray against the spirits which are being summoned and invited to engage with human beings at this time, and we will pray that these spirits are also stopped from tricking your church.