« Rev Nikolai Evseev: “If you live in a country where the Halloween tradition does not exist, then you don’t need to impose it” »

Reverend Nikolai Evseev, a cleric of the Stavropegic Parish of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Dublin, Ireland, tells about the feast of Halloween.

All nations of the world have their own traditions of commemoration of the dead. In the ancient pagan tradition, the Celts decided to commemorate the dead around the end of October and the beginning of November, when they slaughtered cattle and sacrificed the fruits of the harvest to the pagan gods. This pagan festival, which bore the name of Samhain, symbolized the transition from light to dark. The Celts believed that at that time the souls of the departed were visiting the homes of loved ones, and, to appease their souls, they decorated their houses with various offerings. During the holiday, people dressed in different costumes, imitating spirits and departed, went from home to home and exchanged food gifts.

Like many other pagan holidays, the Samhain festival eventually transformed into Christian Halloween. Contrary to popular belief, the word Halloween has nothing to do with English word hell. It comes from two words - Hallows ’(<saints>) and Even (or  <evening>). On this day, the Catholic Church celebrates the eve of All Saints Day. However,  despite the new Christian meaning of the holiday, the folk tradition to dress up as a dead people or spirits and exchange offerings has been preserved.

Recently, when the Christian tradition in Europe has weakened, the festival has lost,  for most of the celebrants, both Christian and pagan meaning. For modern European society, the festival itself is more important, being just another opportunity to have fun.  At the present time, Halloween means a trip to neighbors, together with children in disguise, to pick up sweets. For young people, this is, most often, a lighting of big bonfires and costumed tours of the bars. In a similar way, the de-Christianized society celebrates all other major festivals of the year - Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, New Year Day and others.

The most negative aspect of the Halloween celebration is not “worship of evil spirits”, but the number of incidents involving fire, fireworks and drunken fights. In Ireland, on Halloween night emergency services work for wear and are subject to considerable danger.

Can you celebrate Halloween? If you live in Ireland and have young children, then it is unlikely that you will be able to completely avoid participation - children will certainly want to walk around neighbors and pick up sweets with their friends. However, if you live in a country where such a tradition does not exist, then there is no need to implant it. /