Halloween v. Christmas

Beginning with the Celts, Samhain, now known as Halloween, was the day to placate the spirits until the next harvest began in May. Later, the Church placed “All Saints Day” on November 1st. That holiday was also known as “All Hallows Day” and what was known as Samhain” changed to “All Hallows Evening”, then to “All Hallows Even”, then to “Halloween”. When Irish immigrants came to America they brought another twist to this ever changing holiday. The story of the infamous trickster, who even tricked the devil and was thrown out of hell, and his turnip lantern came with the Irish but their turnips stayed where it began. Replaced by the pumpkin, the Jack O’ Lantern made its way into the American holiday. Within the past few decades, Halloween has changed again. Like the trickster Jack, young teenaged boys in the early- 20th century desecrated and damaged houses the night before Halloween. When they traded sweets for safety, the term “Trick or Treat!” was born. Now, every year brings new changes, from a new costume character on the streets, to a new flavor of M&M’s.
Although a fun holiday, Halloween is not my favorite holiday. Christmas is. I have always loved everything about it, not just the presents. What is not to love about caroling, Bible stories, seeing friends, school break, and the want of snow in South Carolina? Now I live in snow almost constantly, being in Alaska, but I still love all those things. The thing that tops the sugarplums, Santa Clause, and snow, is the birth of the Son.
“And she gave birth to her first born, a son…” (Luke 2:7), “… and he gave him the name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:25) This was the inspiration and beginning for a holiday years to come. The first Christians wanted the celebration of Christ’s birth to be a solemn holiday. That didn’t work out so well. Although Christianity spread, Saturnalia, the Roman holiday in celebration of the god Saturn, didn’t go away. Since they weren’t able to smother the holiday, they rolled with it. Although they did change the holiday from being ‘R’ rated to being ‘G’ rated, they kept the basis the same. Now, instead of being a solemn feast, Christmas was celebrated like a birthday party of today. Then 350 AD, Julius I, a Bishop of Rome, made December 25th the day we celebrate Christmas.
These two holidays, Christmas and Halloween, are two totally different holidays. One celebrates the birth of Christ, while one pacifies the dead. One is super cheery and one is creepy. One is about giving, and one is about taking. One is represented, secularly, by a short, chubby, old man and one is represented by a tall, skinny, red spirit. Religiously, one is represented by the Prince of Peace, and the other is represented by the Prince of Darkness.
Both were affected by the Church. Both are celebrations, and are widely celebrated. During both, people have fun. Both take place during the end of the calendar year. Both have pagan influences, and have been influenced over the years. Both have influenced people over the years and, will continue to do so for years to come.

Sources
The Holy Bible: NIV, by God
The History of Christmas, ( http://www.holidays.net/christmas/story.htm )
History of the Holidays: History of Halloween, History Channel

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2 Comments

  1. Asha says:

    Sounds like Halloween and Christmas balance each other, almost Ying and Yang.
    By the way, hi, Agnes!

    1. craftyaggie says:

      Hi Asha.
      I hadn’t thought of it like that. Thank you.

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