Believe it or not, Halloween was invented in Ireland. It was originally a pagan festival called Samhain and it was celebrated to mark the death of summer and the birth of winter. As the leaves fell to the earth and much of the plant life went dormant, the ancient Irish believed that the separation between the realm of the living and the dead was precariously thin. So, they did what they've always done well, they threw a party! The costumes were meant to scare off the spirits and demons and the loss of the summer was, surprisingly, celebrated. Hey, if its turning darker and colder, you might as well enjoy it.
Like so many pagan holy days, Halloween was eventually "christianized" (I use this term deliberately with an under case "c"). And like so many Christian holy days (holidays), it was eventually commercialized by Americans and shipped back to the old world for their consumption. So last night as I walked to Scott and Denise Karnes' place in Baldoyle for our worship and communion, I was greeted by the usual sights and sounds of October 31; children dressed up like goblins and superheroes running, laughing, and trick-or-treating their way through the neighborhood. Well, I might add that I was also bombarded with the sounds of fireworks going off and the sights of bonfires burning on the community greens. Leave it to the Irish to take a party and make it even better than before! - Shay