A Commentary to Consider: The Celebration of Halloween

By Judith Ritchie
Free-lance writer
A Commentary

Summer has ended and winter is fast approaching. For those of us in this modern society, we tend to forget that this is harvest time and that our very lives depend upon a good harvest to get us through this next year. But in every culture throughout the world, the time of harvest has always been crucial to their survival.

In the early days in America, the settlers prayed throughout the winter for good weather for planting, plenty of sun and rain during the growing season, and for a good harvest in the autumn. Many prayed to the Christian God of the Bible, leaving their care and future in His hands. But throughout the history of the world, most people sought help from other gods; gods who demanded much more than just faith and prayer from the people.

Halloween, known in ancient Briton and Ireland as Samhain* (“Summer’s End”), is a time of worship to the ancient god Cromm Cruaich, also known as the “Bloody Crescent.”**  Unlike the God of the Bible, Cromm Cruaich did not accept simple prayers of faith for a good harvest; he demanded much more. Charles Squire records in his book Celtic Myth and Legend, an ancient poem concerning the god Cromm Cruaich.  Here are some excerpts from it:

“Here used to be

A high idol with many fights, which was named the Cromm Cruaich;

It made every tribe to be without peace.

“T was a sad evil!

Brave Gaels used to worship it…

“He was their god,

The withered Cromm with many mists…

“To him without glory

They would kill their piteous, wretched offspring

With much wailing and peril,

To pour their blood around CrommCruaich

“Milk and corn

They would ask from him speedily

In return for one-third of their healthy issue; [their children]

Great was the horror and the scare of him…

“To him

“They did evil…”

Cromm Cruaich demanded human sacrifice. He was a demonic, bloodthirsty god described as being “withered,” cloaked in darkness by “many mists,” and whose violence terrified the people. He was merciless, evil and brought much sadness, making everyone “to be without peace.” His sacrifices were on the “high places” and under the cloak of darkness. Children and adults were sacrificed to him and to the twelve lesser gods, which were represented by “standing stones” that were placed in a circle around his golden idol. Multitudes were sacrificed all at once. Charles Squire explains, “The same authority also tells us that these sacrifices were made at ‘Hallowe’en’, [or] ‘Samhain’-“Summer’s End”- when the sun’s power waned, and the strength of the gods of darkness, winter, and the underworld grew great.” Later, St. Patrick took a sledge hammer and destroyed the golden idol of Cromm Cruaich.  This, then, is the origin of Halloween.

Unfortunately, we still honor this ancient celebration. And as we acknowledge and celebrate it, we are giving honor to a god who demanded the lives and blood of human beings. We are celebrating death, destruction, darkness, demons, violence, hatred, and evil. We are honoring a demon-god who used terror to control the people and whose demands caused strong, brave men to disgrace themselves.

In contrast, Jesus demands nothing from us but asks us to trust Him. He doesn’t demand the lives of our children to appease Him. The only thing that pleases Him is our faith. He is not a God of darkness, but rather Jesus Himself is light. He is a God of love, not fear; of healing and restoration, not violence and destruction. Jesus gives comfort, not terror, to those who look to Him for help. The early settlers who prayed to Him rested in His peace, as we do today, for He is the Prince of Peace. Jesus is the God and Creator of Life, not death. Since there is no evil in Jesus, He never brings harm or disgrace to those who worship Him, and He does not intimidate or deal unjustly. And where Cromm Cruaich is a demon-god, Jesus is holy, righteous, and pure.

The celebration of Halloween is quite obviously a celebration of darkness, death, fear, demons, hatred, violence, and evil. And yet, it’s one of the biggest celebrations of the year. What’s worse, without any thought to what they’re doing, many Christians celebrate it as well.

It is interesting to note that the writers of the ancient Celtic poem referred to Comm Cruaich as having “many mists.” In the same way, 2 Peter 2:17 speaks of those who have turned away from God as “…springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” This is the god of Halloween. This is whom we choose to ‘agree with’ when we participate, in any way at all, in this celebration.

God equates our relationship with Him to that of a marriage relationship. Many times in the Old Testament He accuses the nation of Israel of adultery and harlotry because of their involvement with spiritual practices other than those He has ordained. The prophet Isaiah pleads with Israel, “Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.” But in the next verse, God tells them that He has abandoned them “because they are filled with influences from the east.” Is. 2:5-6

We know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and in the New Testament God continues to speak the same to us today:

 Do not be partakers with them; for you were formally darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light…do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead, even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things done by them in secret…therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Eph. 5: 7-8, 11, 15-16


* Celtic Myth and Legend by Charles Squire

** Celtic Myths and Legends by T.W. Rolleston


Written by Judith Ritchie (c) 2011

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