Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year." Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient Celtic pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the alive and the deceased dissolved, and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them.
The term Halloween is shortened from All Hallows' Even as it is the eve of "All Hallows' Day," which is now also known as All Saints' Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints' Day from May 13 to November 1. Although All Saints' Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day. Liturgically, the Church traditionally celebrated that day as the Vigil of All Saints, and, until 1970, a day of fasting as well.
Most Christians hold the view that celebrating Halloween is completely incompatible with the Christian faith due to its origin as a Pagan "festival of the dead."
"Hallowed be thy name" is one of those phrases that's most interesting. And to ask that God's name be hallowed, that God's name be looked upon as holy, is to ask that in the world people will understand the presence of God among them with awe and reverence, and will not use the name or the idea of God as a kind of weapon to put other people down, or as a sort of magic charm to make themselves feel safe. But rather approach the idea of God, the name of God, the word of God, with the reverence and humility that's demanded.
In Judaism the name of God is of extreme importance, and honouring the name central to piety. Names were seen not simply as labels, but as true reflections of the nature and identity of what they referred to. So, the prayer that God's name be hallowed was seen as equivalent to hallowing God himself. "Hallowed be" is in the passive voice and so does not indicate who is to do the hallowing. One interpretation is that it is a call for all believers to honour God's name. Those who see the prayer as primarily eschatological understand the prayer to be an expression of desire for the end times, when God's name, in the view of those saying the prayer, will be universally honoured. In praying that the name of God may be hallowed, the meaning is that the sanctity and glory of the divine name may be increased. So "Hallowed be thy name" means: understand what you're talking about when you're talking about God!
Campbell, John Gregorson (1900, 1902, 2005) The Gaelic Otherworld. Edited by Ronald Black. Edinburgh, Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-207-7 pp.559-62
Danaher, Kevin (1972) The Year in Ireland: Irish Calendar Customs Dublin, Mercier. ISBN 1-85635-093-2 pp.190–232
Rogers,Nicholas "Samhain and the Celtic Origins of Halloween," Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 11-21.
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