Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween's Christian History

What is All Hallow's Eve, Why Halloween is October 31, and More

Melissa Roberts

Today’s popular Halloween holiday takes it’s name from All Hallow’s Eve, the vigil of the Feast of All Hallows, known today as All Saints Day. A series of decisions by Catholic popes in the early and late Middle Ages gave Halloween the name and date.

What is All Hallow’s Eve?

All Hallow’s Eve literally means the eve, or day before, all hallows, or "holy ones." The Lord’s Prayer, used by many Christians, contains the phrase, “hallowed be thy name.” Medieval Christians hallowed, or honored, not only God, but also all the saints who worked for God’s work in the world and glorified the Church with their prayers and service.

For centuries, Christians celebrated the eve before a major feast or holiday, also known as a vigil, with prayers, candles, and offerings to the saints. Christmas Eve, the day before Christmas, is an example still relevant today. All Hallow’s Eve was the vigil for Hallowmas during that time.

Hallowmas, also known as All Hallows, is literally translated as “Mass of the Holy Ones.” All Hallows is celebrated as All Saints Day today by Roman Catholics and several Protestant sects.

Christian History of All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween

Skeletons decorate walls and scenes for Halloween today, but the original Halloween skeletons were bodies of holy Christian men and women.


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