By Thamar Jones
Today is Halloween and a lot of controversy surrounds this day. To many people, it is innocent fun but some are concerned about its religious — or rather, demonic — affiliations. This causes many to ask the question: is Halloween is Satanic or not?
Many “historical facts” are touted about this time of year—; some that suggest that the day is indeed demonic and some that refute.
The truth is that Halloween is only associated with Satanism in certain circumstances and in very recent times. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their New Year on November 1. This day marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.
Celts believed that the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on the night before the New Year. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. These prophecies were an important source of comfort during the long, dark winter. To commemorate the event, the priests built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads.
By 43 A.D., Rome had conquered the majority of Celtic territory and over centuries, the influence of Christianity spread into Celtic lands. Traditions from days like All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day which were Roman Christian holidays to honor the dead, gradually blended with and supplanted older Celtic rites. It is believed that the Church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with related, church-sanctioned holidays.
All Souls’ Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints’ Day celebration was also called All-hallows or Alholowmesse, meaning All Saints’ Day, and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.
Immigrants brought these practices and traditions to the Americas where they have morphed into commercialized versions of the original. The belief that the spirits caused troubles like damaging crops and performed other acts of mischief inspired children to perform their own pranks on their friends and neighbors. They could be persuaded not to perform any act of mischief at your house if you gave them a treat and thus the tradition of trick and treating.
Thus over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats.
Because its true history is shrouded in mystery, Halloween, as celebrated today, however, has picked up a variety of practices and beliefs, some likely borrowed from folklore and superstition.
There was a Satanic adoption of Halloween in 1966. Anton LaVey formed the Church of Satan in 1966 and wrote the “Satanic Bible” within a few years. It is important to note that this was the first organized religion to ever label itself as Satanic. LaVey stipulated three holidays for his version of Satanism. The first and most important date is each Satanist’s own birthday. It is, after all, a religion centered on the self, so it is understandable that this is the most significant day to a Satanist.
The other two holidays are Walpurgisnacht (April 30) and Halloween (October 31). Both dates were often considered “witch holidays” in popular culture and thus they became linked with Satanism. LaVey adopted Halloween less because of any inherent Satanic meaning in the date but more as a joke on those who had superstitiously feared it.
Contrary to some conspiracy theories, Satanists do not view Halloween as the Devil’s birthday. Satan is a symbolic figure in the religion. Furthermore, the Church of Satan describes October 31 as “the Fall climax” and a day to dress in costumes according to one’s inner self or reflect on a recently deceased loved one.
Yes, Satanists do celebrate Halloween as one of their holidays. However, this is a very recent adoption as Halloween was celebrated long before Satanists had anything to do with it. Today, it only makes sense to call it a satanic holiday when referencing its celebration by actual Satanists.
Dressing up in costumes, trick or treating, pumpkin carving, and Halloween parties— are only as “satanic” as the intent of those partaking.
By Thamar Jones