“When you say you’re celebrating Reformation Day aren’t you REALLY just celebrating Halloween?”
Answer: No. Really not. I’m not even Catholic. I don’t feel any duty to give a sacrificial offering of foods to the dead or the saints, or the spiritual forces of darkness in order to secure my personal safety.
“Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.” The Apostle Paul
My conscience is fine.
Still the custom, making a vow to bless or curse one’s neighbor unless some offering is given to us, it isn’t exactly Christmas is it? I mean as far as Masses’ go the Christ Mass has All Saints Day beaten by miles, and there are treats there too.We give presents then to but from a very different motive; not to appease malevolent daemons and the fairies – but to bless. To give because we have been given such a gift…
This is just to say that the reason that people have such a hard time tracking down Halloween and it’s history among the traditions is because it did not exist. It is an aimless combination and flailing reworking of many old favorites including All Souls Day for the commemoration and the worship of the dead, the Samhain, the harvest end, and a bedraggled assortment of paganisms.
Everything we do comes from somewhere; everything says something.
But for Protestants it’s the day Martin Luther nailed the 95 thesis on the church door in Wittenberg lighting the fires of the Reformation..Which of course he did on that day, because he was celebrating All Saints day in a celebration of the dead (Luther got a lot more Lutheran later in his life).
By giving away sweet cakes to children and the poor…
So in any case, it’s a complicated kettle of fish.
But one thing we know is that we easily in good conscience celebrate a different thing even on the same day and through similar means, feasting and great joy in the blessings of God.
But sacrifices for the dead, or even to those dressed up as the dead, or even for the catechization of children into the practice by dressing them as the dead, or their emissaries (whether those dead be the dead we favor or those we don’t) the whole thing seems bloody well awful if we do all that to it.
Better to just eat the candy without asking too many questions…
Trick or treat
Smell my feet
Give me something
Good to eat