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Growing European Anti-Halloween Sentiment Is Unwarranted


By James Donahue

Oct. 30,2005


Because of anti-American sentiment many Europeans, including a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church in Italy, are urging people to skip the holiday this year.


As one writer put it, “critics see (Halloween) as the epitome of crass, U.S.-style commercialism.”


And Catholic theologian, the Rev. Giordano Frosini, who serves as vicar-general in the Diocese of Pistoia, said Halloween “undermines our cultural identity.”


It is interesting that a Catholic would say that. Actually the very name of the holiday, Halloween, is an abbreviated form of the title “All Hallows Eve,” created by the Vatican to replace the Gnostic feast of Samhain with a celebration honoring the dead saints within the church.


Samhain is the most important of the Celtic holidays because it marked the end of one year and the start of another. It also included a feast for all of the dead. It was a night when the Celts believed the dead could return for a few hours and they made special arrangements. Extra plates were set at the dinner table. Carved pumpkins and other gourds with scary faces and burning candles were placed at the front door or window to frighten away unwanted spirits, and people even masqueraded in costume seeking favors from their neighbors.


Thus Halloween has its very roots in Europe and it got its name from the Roman Catholic Church.


It was the Americans that commercialized the holiday, as only Americans can do. We have promoted costly costumes, the pumpkin industry, the candy industry, and lawn ornament industry, and now some people are even decorating their houses and yards with orange and white lights. And the houses of horror are using contemporary technology to take on realism that is a business in itself.


Since the Christmas shopping season now overlaps Halloween, the holiday might be confused by some as an extension of Christmas.


But the fundamental Christians still shake their fingers at the celebration of ghosts, goblins and witches, saying all of that is recognition of the dark spiritual side of the universe. They would have children attend church-sanctioned parties where they eat candy, bob for apples (another Celtic tradition), drink apple cider and munch doughnuts.


What seems to be troublesome to the Europeans is that the citizens throughout Europe have caught on to all of the fun the Americans have at Halloween, and they have started copying us.


And they may be quite right. The holiday has become extremely commercialized. It also is one of the few holidays left in America and Europe that really don’t have Christian roots and can be celebrated alone, without anybody thinking they need to stop what they are doing for a few hours and go to church.


And that alone is a great reason why this writer thinks Halloween is a fine holiday for everybody.


Not only do we celebrate it as a Celtic and Gnostic festival, we see it as an important time for the witches of the world. They mark the time as one of their four High Holidays, or Greater Sabbats. To them, Halloween is The Great Sabbat. Entire covens often gather around a bonfire in some vacant areas to celebrate.


As Luciferians we mark Halloween just as the witches, Celts and Gnostics do. It is the end of a growing season, the beginning of winter. It is a sacred time of celebration and tribute to the Mother Earth.

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