Despite all the pagan references today, Halloween does not have pagan roots.
Halloween has its roots in the Christian festival known today as All Saint’s Day.
The word “Halloween” is an abbreviated form of All Hallows’ Eve’ which is All Saints’ Evening.
In the first three centuries A.D. the lives of the martyrs of the Church were commemorated on special days with one day, “All Saint’s Day,” reserved to celebrate them all. Neopagans and Wiccans like to claim that the source of Halloween is the Celtic festival of Samhain. The earliest mention of Samhain in Irish folklore doesn’t come until the 10th Century A.D., whereas All Saint’s Day has its roots seven hundred years earlier. Finally Samhain was a lunar festival of harvest. That means that the day of Samhain can vary up to a month in difference when compared to a solar year date of Oct. 31/Nov. 1.
Who are the saints we remember on “All Saint’s Day?”
We remember our loved ones who have died in the Lord, as well as remember why they are saints. Christians are members of the same family with them, as Christian have historically confessed in the Apostles Creed: “The holy Christian church the communion of saints.” Paul speaks to his contemporaries as “saints” and reveals the reason why in 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – their Lord and ours.”
What can we remember about those who have died in the Lord?
First, we remember them with thanksgiving. God had entrusted them with the gift of God’s Word, and they passed it on to us. They were faithful in that work, and for that we give thanks to God. The second service is the strengthening of our faith. When we see Peter’s denial forgiven, we also are encouraged to believe all the more that grace truly triumphs over sin (Romans 5:20). Sometimes those who have died before us led very colorful lives, perhaps even sinful lives, but later on were much different people, devoted to the Lord and to his forgiveness. The third honor is imitation. As we remember how they lived their lives in faith, may we too imitate their devotion to God and His Word.