Deacon's Desk

Halloween a Christian Feast

It’s not about “Booh” I tricked you! Rather; “Amen Lord” what a treat?!
For centuries this Christian feast had been celebrated in the Middle East by all Orthodox, Catholic and other denomination Christians, under the name of: “The Feast of St. Barbara.” A girl that was born in the third century of a rich pagan father named Dioscorus, who kept her locked up in a tower for secretly becoming a Christian. But that did not change her faith, she rejected to wed to a pagan general a friend of her father, and managed to run away disguised as a poor old villager, and survived on wheat, corn and other fruits that were offered by the Christian villagers – therefore the tradition of trick or treat in the Middle East was to offer dessert dishes made of wheat, corn and other fruits and sweets.
Eventually she was caught by her father who had her cruelly tortured, but Barbara held true to her faith and by the morning her wounds were miraculously healed. The pagan father ordered more torture until she gives up her faith in Christ, and for days it happened that during the night, the dark prison was bathed in light and new miracles occurred. Every morning her wounds were healed. Torches that were to be used to burn her went out as soon as they came near her. Finally the father himself carried out the death-sentence by beheading her. However, as punishment for this, he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body was consumed by flame.
As a martyr; Barbara was buried by a Christian, Valentinus, and her tomb became the site of miracles. An amazing story that reminds us Christian believers to stay strong with our faith and focus on our principle and original believes, just as it was clearly written in (Revelation 2:10): “Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
While on the European continent “All Hallows’ Evening” got contracted to “Allhalloween” and migrated to the American continent to become known these days as: “Halloween”.
“All Hallows’ Evening” is time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers…
Here we go again the event is a Christian tradition including attending Church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead. Holy Masses dedicated to worship God and prayers offered to The Holy Trinity in remembrance of the faithful departed believers, also abstinence from meat and the tradition of eating certain vegetarian foods and the consumption of apples, colcannon, cider, potato pancakes, and soul cakes.
Comparing the Western and the Eastern Christian traditions, the similarities are almost identical: Remembering the Martyrs in prayers, visiting Churches, the abstinence from meat and eating vegetables and fruits, also disguising as running away Christian believers from the pagans to be offered some treats, and not dressed as pagans to scare people…
A kind of a Cesarean alteration; switched around an all Christian feast to become a secular celebration with new traditions: dressing up into demonic and scary faces and costumes, decorating homes with skeletons and scary figures, visiting haunted attractions, watching horror films, attending wild costume parties, taking advantage of the disguising night to commit crimes under the name “devil’s night”…
Did we ever practice some of the Halloween activities? Were we aware of the misleading phenomena? Did we understand the original feast?
Questions are legit to be asked; and responds are necessary to be answered…
It was normal and clear to Christians of the Middle East to celebrate the tradition of the feast of St. Barbara as a Christian innocent and religious event, up until the commercialized products (costumes and masks) started getting imported into the countries with the new name “Halloween”. Nurtured by the new strange ideas imported by the immigrants, and the open-minded strategy with the West, the communities started shifting to the so claimed as fun activities, and the new generation became infested with the evil ideas as the tree get infested by the weevils and said: “It’s no big deal, cool stuff and meant for fun…” we ignored the true teachings of our Holy Book, we ignored the true duties as Christians: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2).
Even though we were innocent at heart and we meant no harm, we believed in our faith and celebrated the feast at the Church and according to our traditions; but at the same time we ended up contributing to promote such events “to blend in”! Let us have the courage to admit the wrong doing and try to correct the course… we are not against having fun; but that fun could be according to our Christian ways and not the other ways! Let’s not get tricked by Halloween… Let’s restore our Christian feasts one treat at a time…
The Church did not catch up fast enough with the changing facts; they didn’t see it coming until later and has been fighting back this evil invasion to the body of Christ and trying to spread the awareness. Yes, Halloween is a significant matter, yet it’s only a part of the bigger evil plan, in comparison to the other worse issues. Satan’s battle against the Church never stopped throughout history; this era is designed to attack the unity of the family, through destroying the values of Christianity within the family, to be able to rip-apart and dismantle the foundation of what the Church could be built upon: love and righteousness… Thus, you see the increase of divorcing that causes instability in the unity of the family. Abortions that are crimes resulted from the lack of awareness and the absence of true faith. And so on… “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21).
One would ask: why talking about this issue now? First it’s very convenient, the holiday is this week and just as the other side is promoting for their ways… it is of a great importance to send an awareness message at this time too! I am not the first person addressing this issue and I’ll not be the last! After all, each believer supposed to be a disciple and spread the word of God. With the Cultural globalization it is necessary to hold onto our own values and cultural identities, and most important our religious faith. To do that we have to start working on our own families and encouraging each other for the change. A change to go back to the roots, to the simplicity of the feast, to the innocence of the costumes and to the true meaning of the event that is faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and not any other explanations!
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”(Ephesians 6:10-11)

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ

Deacon Michel Samuel Massoud