Hallowmas

From a guest post on the blog of His Grace Archbishop Cranmer: “Halloween is believed to originate from the pagan festival of ‘Samhain’, but has long since been Christianised into ‘All Hallows Eve’, in a bold, ruthless, and far-sighted move that was typical of our indomitable forebears. Halloween revellers are in fact celebrating the eve of a Christian festival – All Saints Day or Hallowmas, if they did but know it – partaking in the symbolic last gasp of darkness before it is extinguished by the light. However, unlike similar success stories of Christmas and Easter, the duality of Halloween and Hallowmas is largely forgotten. This is perhaps unsurprising considering the main activity of the traditionally Catholic feast day is to pray to Saints, a no-no for Protestants. It is followed by All Souls day, which features prayers for the departed faithful. Both festivals are sombre affairs that are not universally observed by Christians, and are certainly devoid of any appeal to the masses.”

Thus, the author suggested that “[t]his sombre day of the dead could become a joyous celebration of the Christian Communion, for all denominations; a day when the great works of the likes of Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, and Williams Booth and Wilberforce could be celebrated, in the context of the faith that sustained and inspired them. The sterling work of Christian charities and the plight of Christians around the world could be highlighted.”

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