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  • Writer's pictureKaren Brittingham-Edmond

Halloween… it's a White thing!

It's Halloween again, and many children are excited at the thought of free candy, running around their neighborhood in goofy, funny, and in some cases, heinous costumes. While mom, dad, or big sister stand guard and walk with children to ensure they do not eat un-inspected candy and return home safely. Over the years, Hollywood and many media companies built an industry from the fable tale of ghosts and witches where one may encounter a trick or a treat depending on the giver of the item.

So, where did Halloween come from, and how did Christianity influence this western event celebrated here in America?

Early Christianity ushered in by Roman authorities allowed the acceptance of some European pagan religious festivals to be rebranded in hopes of relating to and converting non-Christians in Europe, much like St. Patrick did in Ireland. Hence the festival of "Samhain (pronounced 'Soo-when,' 'So-ween' or 'Saw-wen'), referred to as the Celtic New Year's, was rebranded "All Hallows Eve" aka as Halloween, the eve of All Saints' Day in the Christian calendar, that is celebrated on Nov first by the

  • Roman Catholic Church, the

  • Methodist Church, the

  • Lutheran Church, and more

Christian worshippers would prepare themselves with prayers and fasting the day before the Nov first feast day. Early Christian believers believe, as they do today, that fasting and prayer fend off encounters of other types of spirits that the Samhain Festival may drum up, per some accounts.

The Samhain name means "summer's end." The Celts believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was thinnest at this time, Oct thirty-first, so the dead could return and walk where they had before. Further, those who had died in the past year and who, for one reason or another, had not yet moved on, could do so at this time and might interact with the living in saying good-bye."

Along with this 2,000-year-old practice of the Celtic that generally refers to the languages and cultures of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Brittany (Britain's little sister country) also encountered other kinds of spirits. Some without human form, such as

  • Elves

  • Fairies,

  • The "wee folks"

  • Sprites or

  • Arcane energies that fuel a wizard's spell.

These are all things the Christian belief system distances itself from. Hence the rebranding of Samhain is converted to "All Saints Day" aka Halloween. (In short only the holy spirit is invited,) evolved into being.

On a side note, North American Natives, per other historical texts, claimed to have witnessed supernatural events that they deemed not holy by early settlers. Kathleen Donegan's book "Seasons of Misery: Catastrophe and Colonial Settlement in Early America" (Early American Studies.) Donegan explains the psychological state early settlers found themselves in. Moreover, Donegan refers in her article on titled "The Most Accurate Part Of The Movie The Witch Is How It Nails The Desperate Crazed Mindset Of Early American Setters." Donegan includes the Native Americans' perspective of colonists during the period in which the movie "The Witch" is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts.


First Nation people in Plymouth Masschusett died in tremendous numbers in the years after colonization. Donegan's book also shares the withdrawal of the "remaining Wampanoag and Massachusett (who were rightfully wary of the English intruders after they did things like mount the head of Massachusett warrior Witawamut on a pike on their fort.) Left the Pilgrims bewildered and alone, without trading partners, within the ten years after they arrived." Per other historical texts from First Nation people confirmed witnessing witchcraft by early settlers who were practicing Christians.

Wampanoag North American 1st Nation Tribe

Hence early penal colonists, although confessing Christianity, may have also carried their paganistic value system that blurs the lines of right and wrong until this day. Donegan shared that early settlers acted out in odd behaviors because of the desperate straits they found themselves in America. Per one account in Roanoke, Virginia, settlers were… shocked when supply ships failed to come to their aid," even though England literally wrote abandonment as a condition of the colonists' constitution.

This is why the author of the book mentioned above states that the movie "The Witch" by filmmaker Robert Houston Eggers an American filmmaker and production designer, reflects with varying degrees of accuracy of early settlers' behavior plus religious or irreligious practices. Moreover confirms 1st Nation people's accounts that made them very concerned about the colonists. And why native Americans distanced themselves from penal colonists and untrusting of punitive colonist leaders. This may also shed light on why most serial killers in America that are White tend to, for one reason or another, always claim that once finally caught & arrested, they say that "the devil made them do it."

So in closing Halloween is a White thing that's reflective of a paganistic value system practiced in Europe for over 2,000. With whom were people that experienced rough times in Europe but found a new life here in America. Over time lives improved, including their civility and treatment towards their fellow man & children. Whom paganistic religious leaders who once wore antlers or horns on their heads over time modified to wearing silly costumes and collecting candy one day of the year for children. Constantine should be proud.

Please enjoy Billy Joe's "We didn't start the fire."


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