As Orthodox Christians we must carefully examine every aspect of our involvement in the world, its activities, holidays and festivals, to be certain whether or not these involvements are compatible with our Holy Orthodox Faith.
For a while now everything in the outside world is reminding us that Halloween is near: at school our children are busy painting pumpkins, cutting and pasting bats, ghosts and witches and planning the ideal costume in which to go trick-or- treating. Most of our schools, local community organizations and entertainment on television, radio and press will share in and capitalize upon the festival of Halloween. Many of us will participate in this festival by going to costume parties, or by taking our children trick-or-treating in our neighborhood after dark on October 31st. Most of us will take part in the Halloween festivities believing that it has no deeper meaning than fun and excitement for the children.
Most of us do not know the historical background of the festival of Halloween and its customs. The feast of Halloween began in pre-Christian times among the Celtic peoples of Britain, Ireland and Northern France. These pagan peoples believed that physical life was born from death. Therefore, they celebrated the beginning of the “new year” in the fall, on the eve of October 31st and into the day of November 1st, when, as they believed the season of cold, darkness, decay and death began. Instructed by their priests, the Druids, the people extinguished all hearth fires and lights and darkness prevailed. According to pagan Celtic tradition, the souls of the dead had entered into the world of darkness, decay and death and made total communion with Samhain, the Lord of death, who could be appeased and cajoled by burnt offerings to allow the souls of the dead to return home for a festal visit on this day. The belief led to the ritual practice of wandering about in the dark dressed in costumes indicating witches, hobgoblins, fairies and demons. The living entered into fellowship and communion with the dead by this ritual act of imitation, through costume and the wandering about in the darkness. They also believed that the souls of the dead bore the affliction of great hunger on this festal visit. This belief brought about the practice of begging as another ritual imitation of the activities of the souls of the dead on their festal visit. The implication was that that any souls of the dead and their imitators who are not appeased with “treats”, i.e. offerings, will provoke the wrath of Samhain, whose angels and servants could retaliate through a system of “tricks”, or curses.
In the strictly Orthodox early Celtic Church, the Holy Fathers tried to counteract this pagan new year festival by establishing
the feast of All Saints on that same day (in the East, this feast is celebrated on another day). The night before the feast (on
“All Hallows Eve”), a vigil service was held and a morning celebration of the Eucharist. This custom created the term Halloween.
But the remaining pagan and therefore anti-Christian people reacted to the Church’s attempt to supplant their festival by
increased fervor on this evening, so that the night before the Christian feast of All Saints became a night of sorcery,
witchhcraft and other occult practices, many of which involved desecration and mockery of Christian practices and beliefs.
Costumes of skeletons, for example, developed as a mockery of the Church’s reverence for holy relics. Holy things were stolen and
used in sacrilegious rituals. The practice of begging became a system of persecution of Christians who refused to take part in
these festivities. And so the Church’s attempt to counteract this unholy festival failed.
This is just a brief explanation of the history and meaning of the festival of Halloween. It is clear that we, as Orthodox Christians, cannot participate in this event at any level (even if we only label it as “fun”), and that our involvement in it is an idolatrous betrayal of our God and our Holy Faith. For if we imitate the dead by dressing up or wandering about in the dark, or by begging with them, then we have willfully sought fellowship with the dead, whose Lord is not a Celtic Samhain, but satan, the evil one, who stands against God. Further, if we submit to the dialogue of “trick or treat”, our offering does not go to innocent children, but rather to satan himself. Let us remember our ancestors, the Holy Christian Martyrs of the early Church, as well as our Serbian New Martyrs, who refused, despite painful penalties and horrendous persecution, to worship, venerate or pay obeisance in any way to idols who are angels of satan. The foundation of our Holy Church is built upon their very blood.
In today’s world of spiritual apathy and listlessness, which are the roots of atheism and turning away from God, one is urged to disregard the spiritual roots and origins of secular practices when their outward forms seem ordinary, entertaining and harmless. The dogma of atheism underlies many of these practices, denying the existence of both God and satan. Our Holy Church, through Jesus Christ, teaches that God alone stands in judgment over everything we do and believe and that our actions are either for God or against God. No one can serve two masters. Therefore, let us not, as the pagan Celts did, put out our hearth fires and wander about in the dark imitating dead souls. Let us light vigil lamps in front of our Slava icons, and together with our families, ask God to grant us faith and courage to preserve as Orthodox Christians in these very difficult times, and to deliver us from the evil one.
St. Nikolai of Zhicha
Reprinted from © St. Luke's Orthodox Mission
> Св. Николай Велимирович Сръбски (1881-1956)
В настоящее время мы являемся свидетелями активного распространения в учебных заведениях европейских государств и России практики справлять целый ряд праздников американского происхождения; Halloween среди них является, наверное, самым популярным. В этот день (31 октября) американские школьники, нарядившись ведьмами, чертями и подобными малоприятными персонажами, носятся по школам и домам и криком: "Trick or treat!" (один из вариантов перевода: Наряди или угости!) требуют себе сладостей. Кроме того, на Helloween принято устраивать розыгрыши, нередко достаточно сомнительного характера. Еще один обязательный атрибут Halloween - Jack'o'lantern - сделанный из тыквы светильник с вырезанной на нем страшной рожей.
Вот, казалось бы, и все. Однако возникает закономерный вопрос: а как следует относиться к этой забаве православному христианину? Для этого необходимо выяснить, в чем, собственно, заключается этот праздник, что именно американские школьники празднуют таким странным образом? Постараемся ответить на него, для чего обратимся вначале к истории праздника.
Считается, что в Америку Хэллоуин был завезен еще первыми ирландскими иммигрантами. В этот день люди переодевались в костюмы ведьм и чертей 'представителей' другой нечистой силы, пугали и разыгрывали друг друга, носили с собой полые тыквы с прорезанным оскалом и свечой внутри, символизирующие мятущиеся грешные души. Атрибутика Хэллоуина целиком языческо-сатанинская: ночное время, летучие мыши, коты, пауки, помело, скелеты, злые духи, вампиры, привидения, гоблины, страшные истории как воспоминания о делах злых духов. Непременный атрибут Хэллоуина - обряд Trik or trak ('Пакость или подарок'). Кельты верили, что в ночь на Новый год открывается граница между мирами мертвых и живых и тени усопших в прошедшем году навещают землю.
В день, соответствующий нашему 31 октября, кельты - древнее население островов Британии, Ирландии и части нынешней Франции
отмечали свой главный праздник - Самайн, конец старого и начало нового года. С этим праздником было связано множество обычаев.
Так, в Ирландии в этот день в главный город страны, священную Тару, собирались все воины Фианны - благородного ирландского
воинства, а по возможности - и все остальное население страны; устраивался огромный пир, который продолжался как днем, так и
ночью. Исследователи истории кельтов полагают также, что в день Самайна кельты тушили весь огонь в домах, чтобы вновь зажечь его
от огня друидов - своих жрецов, являвшихся одновременно учеными, поэтами и духовными вождями. Однако веселая ночь Самайна была
также и одной из самых страшных в году: считалось, что в эту ночь завеса, разделяющая мир людей и мир сидов (волшебных существ,
настроенных по отношению к людям нейтрально или враждебно), становится совсем тонкой, так что люди и сиды могут проникать в миры
друг друга; поэтому, с точки зрения кельтов, риск встретить сида в ночь Самайна был очень велик. Наконец, в Самайн устраивались
Христианизация островов Британии и Ирландии привела к тому, что кельты отказались от своих языческих обычаев. Однако память о Самайне осталась жить в поколениях обитателей Ирландии и Шотландии.
С 835 года с благословения папы Римского Григория IV Западная Церковь (в те времена еще не отделившаяся от Восточной и не уклонившаяся в позднейшие заблуждения католицизма) стала праздновать день Всех Святых 1 ноября. День накануне - 31 октября - в средневековом английском языке получил название "All Hallows' Eve" (навечерие [дня] Всех Святых) или "Halloween".
Совпадение дат привело к тому, что в народном сознании этот праздник и Самайн отчасти отождествились, из-за чего Halloween приобрел окраску Самайна и буйно отмечался. При этом представления о сидах, проникающих в мир людей, в средневековом христианском сознании превратились в представления о нечистой силе, выходящей в этот день пугать благочестивых обывателей. Именно поэтому в эпохи Средневековья и Нового времени Halloween облюбовали ведьмы, обязательно устраивавшие в этот день шабаш.
Обычай буйствовать на Halloween и связанные с этим праздником суеверия (а также и обычай сооружать из тыкв светильники) были привезены с собой ирландскими и шотландскими иммигрантами, перебравшимся в США в XIX в. К началу XX в. под их влиянием в городах США стала распространяться мода устраивать на Halloween акции мелкого вандализма - бить стекла, поджигать деревья и т.п. Популярность этого сумасшествия была настолько велика, что в 20-е годы американским бойскаутам пришла в голову идея пропагандировать отказ от вандализма в этот день, не отказываясь от самого праздника; их лозунг гласил: "Sane Halloween!" ([Да здравствует] здоровый Хэллоуин). Хулиганство бойскауты заменили сомнительным маскарадом и попрошайничеством конфет. С этих пор Хэллоуин и стал любимым праздником американских школьников, а через американскую поп-культуру (которая пропагандирует одинаковый стиль одежды - джинсы, футболки, кроссовки и т. д.; одинаковую еду - пиццу, гамбургеры и кока-колу; одинаковую музыку и т.д.), принятие которой активно навязывается сейчас всему миру при помощи современных средств телекоммуникации, сетей фирменных магазинов и предприятий быстрого питания и проч., распространился и в других странах.
Наконец, следует отметить, что Halloween избрали своим главным праздником те, кто в наши дни сознательно предает себя на служению злу, - так называемые колдуны, ведьмы, сатанисты, вкупе с новоявленными реставраторами древних языческих культов. Так, ведьмы в этот день устраивают один из главных четырех шабашей в году, а сатанисты совершают сатанинскую "черную мессу".
Таким образом, празднуя Halloween, мы празднуем
или: 1) языческий праздник. Но христианин не должен следовать "языческим басням", по слову апостола Павла.
или: 2) день всех святых. Но празднование Halloween в том виде, в каком оно происходит в Америке, является кощунственным глумлением над днем Всех Святых, и над самими святыми: в день, когда воспоминаются святые, христиане одевают на себя костюмы бесов. Кроме того, само празднование дня Всех Святых 1 ноября для подавляющего большинства православных христиан (кроме очень небольшого числа проживающих в Америке т. н. православных "западного обряда") является оскорблением в адрес собственной Церкви, ибо Православная Церковь отмечает день Всех Святых не 1 ноября, а в воскресенье, следующее за праздником Пятидесятницы, т. е. в начале лета.
Остается еще третье: 3) мы празднуем вместе с сатанистами. Кстати, ассоциативная связь между дикими "обрядами" Halloween и сатанистскими культами настолько очевидна, что даже в самих США многие считают Halloween праздником сатанистов, а Барнаульская и Владивостокско-Приморская епархии Русской Православной Церкви на этом основании запретили своим чадам участвовать в праздновании Halloween и лишили своего благословения тех, кто этот праздник все же решится отметить. И вообще, христианину не пристало напяливать на себя бесовские маски.
Да и зачем русскому православному человеку участвовать в распространении обезличивающей американской псевдокультуры в своей родной стране, зачем прививать своим родным и знакомым привычку отмечать безумный и бездумный "праздник", когда в России его никогда не знали и, даст Бог, не узнают? Зачем нужен наследнику богатейшей русской культурной традиции, обладающей собственной богатой системой праздников, укорененной в Православии, примитивный Halloween?
by Bishop Kyrill of Seattle
"Orthodox Life", Vol. 43, No. 5, 1993
It is that time of the year when the secular society in which we live is preparing for the festival of Halloween. Because most of us are either newly Orthodox or newly aware of our Orthodoxy, it is absolutely necessary that we carefully examine every aspect of our involvement in the world - it's activities, festivals, associations and societies - in order to discern whether or not these involvements are compatible or incompatible with our holy Orthodox Faith.
This is a difficult task which leads to some pain when we realize that there are popular organizations and activities in which we are unable to participate.
Though our schools, our local community organizations, and all forms of entertainment in television, radio, and the press will share in and capitalize upon the festival of Halloween, it is impossible for Orthodox Christians to participate in this event at any level. The issue involved is simple faithfulness to God and the holy Orthodox Christian Faith. Halloween has its roots in paganism and continues to be a form of idolatry in which Satan, the angel of death is worshipped. As we know, the very foundation of our holy Church is built upon the blood of martyrs who refused under the painful penalties of cruel torture and death to worship, venerate, or pay obeisance in any way to the idols who are Satan's angels. Because of the faithfulness through obedience and self-sacrifice of the holy martyrs, God poured out upon His holy Church abundant Grace and its numbers were increased daily, precisely at a time when one would have expected the threat of persecution to extinguish the flame of faith. But, contrary to the world's understanding, humble faithfulness and obedience to God are the very lifelines of our life in Christ, through Whom we are given true spiritual peace, love, and joy, and participation in the miraculous workings of His Holy Spirit. Therefore the holy Church calls us to faithfulness by our turning away from falsehood toward truth and eternal life.
With regard to our non-participation in the pagan festival of Halloween, we will be strengthened by an understanding of the spiritual danger and history of this anti-Christian feast. The feast of Halloween began in pre-Christian times among the Celtic peoples of Great Britain, Ireland and northern France. These pagan peoples believed that physical life was born from death. Therefore, they celebrated the beginning of the "new year" in the fall (on the eve of October 31 and into the day of November 1), when, as they believed, the season of cold, darkness, decay and death began. A certain deity, whom they called Samhain, was believed by the Celts to be the lord of Death, and it was he whom they honored at their New Year's festival.
There were, from an Orthodox Christian point of view, many dia bolical beliefs and practices associated with this feast which, it will be clear, have endured to our time. On the eve of the New Year's festival, the Druids who were the priests of the Celtic cult, instructed their people to extinguish all hearth fires and lights. On the evening of the festival a huge bonfire built of oak branches, which they believed to be sacred, was ignited. Upon this fire sacrifices of crops, animals, and even human beings, were burned as an offering in order to appease and cajole Samhain, the lord of Death. It was also believed that Samhain, being pleased by their faithful offerings, allowed the souls of the dead to return to homes for a festal visit on this day. It is from this belief that the practice of wandering about in the dark dressed up in costumes imitating ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, fairies, and demons grew up. For the living entered into fellowship and communion with the dead by what was, and still is, a ritual act of imitation, through costume and activity of wandering around in the dark of night, even as the souls of the dead were believed to wander.
The dialogue of "trick or treat" is also an integral part of this system of beliefs and practices. It was believed that the souls of the dead who had entered into the world of darkness, decay, and death, and therefore into total communion with and submission to Samhain the lord of Death, bore the affliction of great hunger on their festal visit. Out of this grew the practice of begging, which was a further ritual enactment and imita tion of what the Celts believed to be the activities of the souls of the dead on their festal visit. Associated with this is the still further implication that if the souls of the dead and their imitators were not appeased with "treats," i.e., offerings, then the wrath and anger of Samhain, whose angels and servants the souls and their imitators had become, would be unleashed through a system of "tricks," or curses.
From an Orthodox Christian point of view, participation in these practices at any level is impossible and idolatrous, a genuine betrayal of our God and our holy Faith. For if we participate in the ritual activity of imitating the dead by dressing up in their attire or by wandering about in the dark, or by begging with them, then we have willfully sought fel lowship with the dead, whose lord is not Samhain as the Celts believed but Satan, the Evil One who stands against God. Further, if we submit to the dialogue of "trick or treat," we make our offering not to innocent children, but rather to Samhain, the lord of Death whom they have come to serve as imitators of the dead, wandering in the dark of night.
There are other practices associated with Halloween which we must stay away from. As was mentioned above, on the eve of the Celtic New Year festival, Druid priests instructed their faithful to extinguish their hearth fires and lights and to gather around the fire of sacrifice to make their offerings to pay homage to the lord of Death. Because this was a sacred fire, it was from this that the fire of the new year was to be taken and the lights and hearth fire rekindled. Out of this arose the practice of the jack o'lantern (in the USA, a pumpkin; in older days other vegetables were used) which was carved in imitation of the dead and used to convey the new light and fire to the home where the lantern was left burning throughout the night. Even the use and display of the jack o'lantern involves celebration of and participation in the pagan festival of death honoring the Celtic god Samhain. Orthodox Christians must in no way share in this Celtic activity, but rather we should counter our inclinations and habits by burning candles to the Saviour and the Most Holy Mother of God and to all the holy saints.
In the ancient Celtic rite divination was also associated with this fes tival. After the fire had died out the Druids examined the remains of the sacrifices in order to foretell, as they believed was possible, the events of the coming year. Since this time the Halloween festival has been the night for participation in all kinds of sorcery, fortune telling, divination, games of chance, and in latter medieval times, Satan worship and witchcraft.
In the days of the early Celtic Church, which was strictly Orthodox, the holy Fathers attempted to counteract this pagan New Year Festival which honored the lord of Death, by establishing the Feast of All Saints on the same day (in the East, the Feast of All Saints is celebrated on the Sunday following Pentecost). As was the custom of the Church, the faith ful Christians attended a Vigil Service in the evening and in the morning a celebration of the Holy Eucharist. It is from this that the term Halloween developed.
The word Halloween has its roots in the Old English of "All Hallow's Even," i.e., the eve commemorating all those who were hallowed (sanctified), i.e., Halloween. The people who had remained pagan and therefore anti-Christian and whose paganism had become deeply intertwined with the occult, Satanism, and magic, reacted to the Church's attempt to supplant their festival by increased fervor on this evening. In the early middle ages, Halloween became the supreme and central feast of the occult, a night and day upon which acts of witch craft, demonism, sorcery, and Satanism of all kinds were practiced.
Many of these practices involved desecration and mockery of Christian practices and beliefs. Costumes of skeletons developed as a mockery of the Church's reverence for holy relics; holy things were stolen, such as crosses and the Reserved Sacrament, and used in perverse and sacrile gious ways. The practice of begging became a system of persecution designed to harass Christians who were, by their beliefs, unable to participate by making offerings to those who served the lord of Death. The Western Church's attempt to supplant this pagan festival with the Feast of All Saints failed.
The analogy of Halloween in ancient Russia was Navy Dien (old Slavonic for "the dead" was "nav") which was also called Radunitsa and celebrated in the spring. To supplant it the Eastern Church connected this feast with Pascha and appointed it to be celebrated on Tuesday of the Saint Thomas' week (the second week after Pascha). The Church also changed the name of the feast into Radonitsa, from Russian "radost" joy. Joy of Pascha and of the resurrection from the dead of all of mankind after Jesus Christ. Gradually Radonitsa yielded to Pascha its importance and became less popular in general, but many dark and pagan practices and habits of some old feasts of Russian paganism (Semik, Kupalo, Rusalia and some aspects of the Maslennitsa) survived till the beginning of our century. Now they are gone forever, but the atheist authorities used to try to revive them. We can also recall the example of another "harmless" feast - May 1, proclaimed "the international worker's day." That was a simple renaming of a very old satanic feast of Walpurgis Night (night of April 30 into the day of May 1) - the great yearly demonic Sabbath during which all the participants united in "a fellowship of Satan."
These contemporary Halloween practices have their roots in paganism, idolatry, and Satan worship. How then did something that is so obviously contradictory to the holy Orthodox Faith gain acceptance among Christian people?
The answer to this question is: spiritual apathy and listlessness, which are the spiritual roots of atheism and the turning away from God. In today's society one is continually urged to disregard the spiritual roots and origins of secular practices under the guise that the outward customs, practices and forms are cute, fun, entertaining, and harmless. Behind this attitude lies the dogma of atheism, which denies the existence of both God and Satan and can therefore conclude that these activities, despite their obvious pagan and idolatrous origin, are harmless and of no consequence.
The holy Church must stand against this because we are taught by Christ that God stands in judgment over everything we do and believe, and that our actions are either for God or against God. Therefore, the customs of Halloween are not innocent practices with no relationship to the spiritual world. But rather they are demonic practices, precisely as an examination of their origins proves.
Evil spirits do exist. The demons do exist. Christ came into the world so that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil (Heb. 2:12). It is imperative for us to realize as Christians that our greatest foe is the Evil One who inspires nations and individuals to sin against mankind, and who prevents them from coming to a knowledge of the truth. Unless we realize that Satan is our real enemy, we can never hope for spiritual progress for our lives. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph.6:12).
Today we witness a revival of satanistic cults; we hear of a satanic service conducted on Halloween night; everywhere Satan reaches out to ensnare as many innocent people as possible. The newsstands are filled with material on spiritualism, supernatural phenomena, seances, prophecies, and all sorts of demonically inspired works.
It is undoubtedly an act of Divine Providence that Saint John of Kronstadt, that saintly physician of souls and bodies, should have his feast day on the very day of Halloween, a day which the world dedicated to the destroyer, corrupter, and deceiver of humanity. God has provided us with this powerful counterpoise and weapon against the snares of Satan, and we should take full advantage of this gift, for truly "Wondrous is God in His saints."
Reprinted from "Parish Life" of the St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Washington, DC.
By Caryl Matrisciana
For the fanciful child, it's a dream come true to dress up as a favorite literary character or fairy-tale heroine on Halloween. On one day of the year, children are permitted to indulge their fantasies – both costume and candy – and the streets are filled with small Snow Whites, witches and goblins. But why do we celebrate this "child's" holiday called Halloween?
Benign as it may now seem to most Americans, Halloween has its roots in ancient, occult religious practices. Donning costumes, playing "trick-or-treat" and displaying jack-o'-lanterns are all carry-overs of pagan traditions. And though our contemporary society would have us believe it is not so, pagan practices – including darker occult rituals – still occur today.
Halloween is a holy day for pagans. This Celtic "new-year's day," known to druids as "Samhaine," is celebrated on Oct. 31. Members of the Wiccan religion – a federally recognized, tax-exempt faith – and Satanists hold the day in the highest regard, performing special, often macabre ceremonies at the midnight hour. According to Paddy Slade's "Encyclopedia of White Magic: A seasonal guide," "At Samhaine the veil between our world and the Otherworld is thinnest, and it is thought to be the best time to attract those who have gone before."
Recognizing the evil behind these pagan "celebrations" of communion with nature and spirits, the Catholic Church moved its All Saints Day from May to Nov. 1. The day was set aside to honor marytred Christians. Protestants soon followed, but the occult symbols and practices of Samhaine are still dominant.
So what's a parent to do with Halloween? Before making a decision to "go along with the crowd" and celebrate this pagan holiday, I suggest you get informed. As one who was personally involved in the occult, and as a documentary filmmaker, I partnered with Cutting Edge Films to create "Halloween: Trick or treat?" The film uses actual footage of pagan rituals – not recreations – and comments from currently practicing druids and witches to explore Halloween's origins. It explains the pagan symbolism of trick-or-treating and jack-o'-lanterns, as well as other seemingly harmless "harvest" fun.
In a disturbing yet eye-opening interview included in the video, a former Satanist tells of his experience growing up in a Satanic coven. Now a committed Christian, the gentleman recalls a childhood of fear and sexual abuse. At age 11, he participated in a Halloween-night ceremony in which a young girl was sacrificed on an altar and her blood shared by adult participants. As an adult, Halloween and its "symbols of death," he says, bring back memories of abuse and horrible images.
This kind of experience is repeated year after year. As a sergeant at the Baldwin Park Police Department in Southern California and a British Parliament member point out, frightening, murderous Satanic practices take place around the world every Halloween. And yet the public dismisses reports of their occurrence, refusing to believe the holiday is anything more than child's play.
Society has become so desensitized to the occult and its high holiday of Halloween that it has even embraced a remarkably graphic and accurate children's literary series on the subject. The Harry Potter phenomenon, begun by series author J.K. Rowling of Great Britain, has spread like wildfire. Halloween is a significant day in the series, which is set in Great Britain.
Young Harry's parents, a witch and wizard renowned for their skill in the craft, were killed on Halloween by the evil sorcerer Voldemort when Harry was just a baby. On attempting to kill the infant, Voldemort was able only to leave a lightning-bolt shaped scar on the boy's forehead. Having survived the murderous plot, Harry's scar is a badge of honor in the wizarding world. And at age 11, he sets off to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – his parent's alma mater.
Potter fans dismiss claims that the fictional boy's parents were killed on Halloween, saying the book refers only to "Bonfire Night." However, those familiar with British customs understand the reference and can easily deduce the date of the Potters' deaths.
At the opening of book one of the seven-part series (four of which have already been published), the wizard world buzzes with the news of the Potters' deaths. As a result, strange happenings are observed by non-wizard people, known as "Muggles." The phenomenon is explained away by a Muggle weatherman: "People have been celebrating Bonfire Night early – it's not until next week, folks."
Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, merges in Britain with the celebration of Halloween. Bonfire Night takes place on Nov. 5 – one week after Americas' Halloween. (Surely not by coincidence, Nov. 5 is also the royal-premier date of Warner Bros.' Harry Potter movie in Great Britain.)
"But it's just harmless fantasy," say Potter fans – the same justification used by people, including Christians, who celebrate Halloween. But as I touched on above, and as "Halloween: Trick or treat?" explains more thoroughly, Halloween's "harmless fun" is actually a remnant of occult practices that are still in use today.
The world of sorcery and spells to which Harry Potter belongs is idealized in the book series. As seen in the media and various Internet chat rooms, many children who read the Harry Potter books long to attend Hogwarts, expressing their desire to learn witchcraft and wizardry. But are parents truly aware of the sinister – yes, even evil – characters of Harry's world?
In book two, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," 17-year-old student Tom Riddle (who is now the grown-up Voldemort) tells Harry about 11-year-old Ginny Weasley. The girl has been possessed by Voldemort out of his selfish desires to own her soul and body. Says Voldemort:
She opened her heart and spilled all her secrets to an invisible stranger … telling me all her pitiful worries and woes ... I was patient ... sympathetic ... kind. ... Ginny simply loved me. ... I have always been able to charm the people I needed. So Ginny poured out her soul to me, and her soul happened to be exactly what I wanted. ... I grew stronger and stronger on a diet of her deepest fears, her darkest secrets. I grew powerful, far more powerful than little Miss Weasley. Powerful enough to start feeding Miss Weasley a few of my secrets, to start pouring a little of my soul back into her ...
After the possession, Ginny wrote in her diary "I think I'm losing my memory. There are rooster feathers all over my robes and I don't know how they got there ... I can't remember what I did on the night of Halloween, but a cat was attacked ... There was another attack today and I don't know where I was ... I think I am going mad ... I think I am the one attacking everyone ..."
And she was. On Halloween, and under the possession of Voldemort, Ginny slaughtered the school rooster and saw to the killing of the cat. Of course, this is classic demon possession shown through a little 11-year-old's random and vicious behavior. She looses her memory, kills under the control of a spirit's instructions, showers her affections and loyalties to the evil Voldemort through her writings, emotions, imaginations, etc.
And we let our children read this for entertainment?
Though Harry Potter fans say the series is only harmless fantasy, and though Halloween is seen merely as a child's holiday, there is a darker side to both. I urge you to tune out the pressures of friends and neighbors, forget for the moment about school parties and costume selection, set aside your preconceived notions about people who condemn Halloween, and honestly examine the issue for yourself.
Reprinted from © 2001 WorldNetDaily.com