Friday, 30 October 2009

Halloween—An Ancient Pagan Devilish Ritual

Have you noticed a sudden rise in Halloween celebrations within Pakistan? Halloween was never celebrated in the past; now 31 October is an important date to dish-gazing burger-munching teenagers. The purpose of this article is to look at Halloween’s true meaning, origins and effects on the gullible masses.

The Alarm

Last October my daughter begged me to buy her a Halloween costume. She said the schoolteacher had asked all children to participate. I tried explaining to the five-year old impressionable mind but she wept when I disallowed her to celebrate Halloween. Meanwhile I wrote a letter of protest to the school’s principal. The class-teacher appalled me with her ignorance when I spoke to her. She revealed, “On the eve of 31 October or Halloween Day, all the spirits descend for an earthly visit. We are merely exposing kids to new things.”

As it was too late to disrupt the party, I sent some literature to the school’s administrator to help her understand why I opposed the affair. Shortly afterwards, newspapers carried photos and reports covering Halloween celebrations in Lahore. What was most distressing was that even government officials attended such gatherings. Recently, Kinnaird College, Lahore, advertised the celebration of Halloween by organizing a pop concert. Countless others joined in elsewhere. Nobody stopped to think before wearing a Dracula-mask or pretending to be a witch. What hope could one have from misled leaders to protect the cultural and religious borders?

The Distant Past

Halloween means ’hallow’ (make or honour as holy). It is celebrated a day before All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints Day of November 1. The ancient Druids had a three-day autumn celebration at the beginning of November. They believed that on the last night of October spirits of the dead roamed abroad, and they lighted bonfires to drive them away. In ancient Rome the festival of Pomona, goddess of fruits and gardens, occurred at about this time of year. It was an occasion of rejoicing associated with the harvest. Nuts and apples, as symbols of the winter store of fruit, were roasted before huge bonfires. These agricultural and pastoral celebrations also had a sinister aspect, with ghosts and witches thought to be on the prowl.

Even after November 1 became a Christian feast day honouring all saints, many people clung to the old pagan beliefs and customs that had grown up about Halloween. Some tried to foretell the future on that night by performing such rites as jumping over lighted candles. In the British Isles great bonfires blazed for the Celtic festival of Samhain. Laughing bands of young people disguised in grotesque masks carved lanterns from turnips and carried them through the villages.

The Romans made Italy, Gaul (present day France), and much of Britain into Roman provinces. The Carthaginians overpowered the Celts in Spain, and German tribes drove the Celts out of the Rhine Valley. Following the Roman conquest, the Anglo-Saxon invasion wiped out most traces of Celtic culture in England. Only in Brittany, the Isle of Man, Wales, Ireland, and the Scottish Highlands were left with traces of Celtic cultural folklore in the Breton, Manx, Welsh, Erse, and Gaelic languages. A prayer in Cornish (Celtic dialect of Cornwall, closely related to Breton and Welsh) goes like this:

From ghoulies and ghosties, and long-leggty beasties and things that go bump in the night, good Lord deliver.

The Christian predecessor of Halloween, the Roman Catholic Church’s All Saints’ Day was originally celebrated in May, not November 1. In A. D. 608 the Roman emperor appeased the populace of newly conquered heathen territories by allowing them to combine their ancient ritual of Samhain Day with the newly dated All Saints’ Day. Rome’s pantheon, a temple built to worship a multiplicity of gods, was converted into a church. While the Christians celebrated the death of departed saints, the pagans devoted the preceding night to their Lord of the Dead.

The choosing of 31 October is no coincidence. The Celtic calendar celebrated four cross-quarter days. The first on February 2 was known as Ground-Hog Day honouring Brigit, the pagan goddess of healing. The second a May holiday called Beltane was witchcraft’s time to plant. On this day the Druids performed magical rites to encourage the growth of crops. The third, an August harvest festival in honour of the sun god, commemorated the shining one, Lugh. The first three celebrated passing of seasons, times of planting as well earth’s death and rebirth, while the last, Samhain Day marked the coming of winter. More rituals followed in which the cauldron symbolized the abundance of the goddess. It was a season of superstition and spirit conjurations.

To the Druids, October 31 was the night Samhain returned with the spirits of the dead. They had to be appeased or ’treated’ or the living would be tricked. Huge bonfires were set on hilltops to frighten away evil spirits and placate supernatural powers that controlled the process of nature.

The originators of Halloween, Celts and Druids, dominated most of Western Europe; Celtic priests were called Druids, and their religion, Druidism. Only men of good family could become Druids. Membership was highly prized because Druids did not have to fight or pay taxes. They sacrificed criminals to their gods. The Druids were also magicians and astrologers.

Recent History

By the late nineteen hundreds, the Irish introduced Halloween to America, and by the late nineteenth century, its customs had become popular. It was an occasion to overturn outhouses, inflict property damage and indulge in deviltry that wouldn’t be tolerated at other times of the year.

Today children carve faces on hollowed-out pumpkins and put lighted candles inside to make jack-o’-lanterns. Halloween celebrations reflect many of these early customs. Stores and homes display orange and black figures of witches, bats, black cats, and pumpkins. People dress in fanciful outfits go to costume parties, where old-fashioned games like bobbing for apples in tubs of water may be a part of the festivities. Children put on costumes and masks and go from house to house demanding ’trick or treat.’ The treat, usually candy, is generally given and the trick rarely played. Some parents feel this custom is dangerous. There have been numerous instances in which sharp objects or poisons have been found in candy bars and apples. To provide an alternative to begging for candy from strangers, many communities schedule special, supervised parties and events at Halloween. Even the United Nations has used the Halloween observance to collect money for its children’s fund.

Halloween Today

Many devil worshippers and occult groups now ritualistically recognize Halloween as the Devil’s Day throughout America. Over sixty percent of Halloween costumes are sold to adults who become outrageous exhibitionists. One of every four people will dress up as some kind of character. For psychic readers, clairvoyants and self-proclaimed visionaries, it’s the busiest time of the year. Publishers of books on astrology and witchcraft indicate a dramatic increase in sales. Salem, Massachusetts, home of American witchcraft, now celebrates a ’haunted happening’ at Halloween to expand its summer tourist season. Concerned parents in America report a phenomenal increase in the demand for black cats. Fearing that the animals are being used in bloody sacrificial rituals, the Anti-Cruelty Society has, therefore, made black cats off limits for adoption during the Halloween season.

Symbols Of Satan

The traditional jack o’ lantern came from the tale of a notorious man named Jack, who was turned away from both heaven and hell. Consigned to roam the earth as a spirit, he put a glowing coal into a carved-out turnip to light his way through the night. The harbinger (which became a pumpkin) symbolized a damned soul. It’s colours orange and black are connected to the occult commemorative masses for the dead held in November. The unbleached beeswax candles are orange and black cloths cover the ceremonial- caskets.

Other obvious ties with the occult are:

1. Halloween costumes are taken from the Celtic druid idea that ceremonial participants should wear animal heads and animal skins to acquire the strength of the beast they portrayed and to ward off evil spirits.
2. The trick or treat came from the Irish tradition when a man led a procession to levy contributions from farmers, lest their crops be cursed by demons.
3. Dunking for apples came from the old practice of predicting the future. The participant who successfully clenched an apple between his teeth could count on fulfilling romance with the lover of his choice.
4. Cats represented incarnated humans, malevolent spirits or the ’familiars’ (demon friends) of witches.
5. Hazelnuts were used in romance forecasts. Some Halloween food had objects placed inside as a means of fortune telling.

Conclusion

Since most Christians will unknowingly take credit for Halloween’s creation, I have some news for my brethren. The word Halloween does not occur in the Bible at all. Jeremiah 10:02 clearly warns:
Do not follow the ways of other heathens (pagans).

The Bible also contains numerous warnings regarding prohibition on worship of idols and assigns death penalty for sorcerers and black magicians.

The Holy Quran contains a surah (chapter) called Jinn. Elsewhere Allah warns with clear references to satanic forces. An authentic Hadith (saying of prophet Mohammed, p.b.u.h) also indicates how Muslims, through lack of faith, may follow other nations to the extent that ’If the disbelievers entered a hole in the ground, Muslims would follow.’ Through disobedience, a believer falls from grace as disregarding Allah’s command is a satanic character trait.

With today’s life in the fast lane, most parents hardly have the time to even look at the report-cards of their children; leave aside educate themselves. Continuously exposing impressionable young minds to novel things and ways of life takes its psychological toll. Halloween is not funny business as Satan gets the last laugh. Allowing children to have fun this way is a legless excuse. The educational institutions, the ministry of education, the parents and today’s youth need to understand the implications of such follies.

Halloween’s negative aspects are firmly rooted in witchcraft, the devil, darkness, skeletons, fear and terror. Sensible anti-occult individuals must step forward to disallow Halloween celebrations. Children are never too young to learn that a day should not be dedicated to devil.

Tahir Gul Hasan holds the copyrights to his work. Written permission of the author is required for reproducing or re-printing his work on any medium. The author wishes to thank Bob Larson for his research printed in the book: Satanism—the seduction of America’s youth.

14 comments:

  1. this is quite informative. i hope the authorities do listen.

    but i guess they'r too busy, modernising,liberalising,Amercanising and what-not-ising! except for true muslimising!

    in short, both Muslims and Christians or whoever follows this are ignorant....

    but as regards, kaali billi and witch craft... sounds too familiar to kala jaadoo??? practised widely in , never mind....

    to conclude, "SAB QIYAMAT KEY AASAAR HAIN JEE!!"

    i wonder where that kaana dajjal is hiding or may be it's dajjal in Osama's costume!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for dropping by Nauma. Interesting comments! Now let me go look for that blind idiot who has not been mentioned in the Qur'an.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's a day to dress up and enjoy oneself much like olden time masquerades. Nowadays, kids and a majority of adults do not celebrate it as a sinister pagan ritual, devil worship or an idolatorous holiday, no matter what its roots or history may be. It's celebrated in the spirit (pun unintended) of fun! The cultists, occultists and necromancers may be a small percentage and definitely not the majority.

    We tend to gauge everything on the basis of religion and in our absolutist interpretations weed out anything that smacks remotely of fun. A lot of our own customs like rasms at mehndis and weddings, etc are hindu customs or subcontinental and have nothing to do with Muslim beliefs but are instead a cultural practice.

    And you assume a lot when you say that most Christian brethren will take credit for Halloween. Credit them with a little intelligence: Like you, they too know its pagan history.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Zakia, thanks for your comments.

    I need not add more but suffice to say that you may go right ahead and teach your kids to grow up as pumpkins for 'fun'.

    "The devil makes their deeds fair-seeming to them". --Qur'an.

    Now argue with God!

    Wedding ceremonies? What hints of paganism do THEY have contain? Please provide examples. God is very clear about certain issues. Don't confuse things.

    What is reprehensible is that whatever they throw at Muslims (we do have an identity, don't we?), we decide to adopt wholeheartedly.

    And down with Valentine's Day too!

    ReplyDelete
  5. By bringing up wedding ceremonies I was not saying that they were pagan merely that they are not muslim beliefs but have been adopted in a cultural context much like Halloween nowadays which is mostly a cultural phenomenon and celebrated by the majority as a highly-commercialized festivity. Hordes of adults and kids are not getting together and forming satanic cults.

    The muslim identity can be uniform only in aspects of behaviour and ideals NOT necessarily in cultural practice. Religion has always amalgamated with the culture of a place and become a unique force. The muslims of the subcontinent e.g. are different culturally from the muslims of the middle east even though lately Arab supremacist movements have tried to corrupt that uniqueness by portraying Islam in the Arab context as the one true way of practicing Islam. The uniformity of identity of the muslim ummah does not lie in the cultural practices instead it lies in aspiring to the ideals preached in Islam. A muslim is to be recognized by the strength of his/her character. That is the identity.

    And as for my kids (since you bring them up though they really are nobody's business), I will teach them to be tolerant and accepting of other cultures even if they themselves do not practice it which is more than I can say for some of the people out there.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Orgies and other perverted activities are commericalized and very popular too, does that mean one should join the 'fun' without thinking about religious injunctions, morality, ethics and the rest of it?

    I don't care for the corrputing effect that the Hollywood-driven American culture has on the entire globe.

    They accuse Muslims of 'selling their mothers', hell no--the same accusers don't mind watching their wives and sisters getting intimate with other men right before their eyes.

    I neither wear the Arabic garb nor rub shoulders with the Tall-Ebans. I will not sit at the dining table with Pakistan's destroyers, whoever they may be and wherever they may live.

    I don't wish to argue with those who've given their oath of allegiance to the American flag and see Islam through the foggy Wahabbi sunglasses.

    Others' children being corrupted by pagan practises is okay with you? How dear are your own kids to you!

    The film actors and actresses of India (with Muslim names!) also don't mind going to temples or participating in pagan religious ceremonies in order to look liberal. They look terrible in God's Presence.

    As you raise the newborn, you need to be very careful after the year 2023.

    Peace.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Although the Halloween blog is well written, I think Pagan rites, worshipping Nature, and other forms of "God" are fine... God is everywhere and in everything, so I believe Druids, etc., not wrong. Of course, it is not okay to worship the Devil, but keeping harmful spirits away is not that bad... No?

    ReplyDelete
  8. God is in EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE?
    That's not what God says about Himself!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Quite a research bro... Bravo!!!!

    Its again an eye opening article... I do agree with you. I don't appreciate it also. But that's our own opinion. We can deliver our messages to the masses but God only can give the wisdom to others to understand.

    We must know what we are doing. Muslims have gone away from the teachings of Islam. Society has played a major role in that but if you want to stick to the fundamental teachings not even your worst half can persuade you to go out of the line.
    I shall definitely stop my kids following any such thing.

    Peace brother

    ReplyDelete
  10. Abaan, thanks for your encouragement and realisation. Now go and first have kids in the 'prescribed' manner! :)

    I think I'm doing a fairly good job warning those around me about dangerous ideas and people; men much more pious than myself have already set the standards for being 'warners' for mankid. --tgh

    ReplyDelete
  11. Definitely you are doing a pretty awesome job my dear brother. Kudos to you.

    Bests.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "A person who calls another to guidance will be rewarded, as will the one who accepts the message." (Tirmithi)

    I really liked the way you have explained in your article about "Halloween Celebration". It is very alarming to know that this culture is taking place in our country too and are holding Halloween parties openly...Strange !

    I know from experience that a family that doesn’t pray together and parents who don’t teach their children Islamic knowledge and guide their children to the best of life that is Islam will end up regretting how their children are as young adults and older.

    From an Islamic standpoint, Halloween is one of the worst celebrations due to its origins and history. It is Haraam (forbidden) to partake in such a practice, even if there may be some seemingly good or harmless elements in it, as evidenced by a statement from the Prophet (SAW) :
    "Every innovation (in our religion) is misguidance, even if the people regard it as something good." [Ad-Daarimi]

    May Allah reward you for your passion and give us all tawfeeq to take action and improve ourselves!

    Best Regards-

    ReplyDelete
  13. You have written truthful, inspirational and educational articles on several topics of interest. I was just wondering if you have written any article on 'Celebrating Valentine's Day' ?

    We all know that each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia.
    This is a western tradition , culture whatever, and has nothing to do with our culture, but why Pakistanis are following this tradition? I am surprised to see that the trend of celebrating this crazy day is becoming very popular here!!!

    I admire your truthfulness and science -frictional socio- political satire with fire comments .

    Laila

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm only one person and can't possibly write about everything that ails our society. V-day celebration and the trend here is plain silly and needs to be made fun of. In the meanwhile, enjoy celebrating Ranjha-day.

      Delete