The word Hallowe’en is derived from the words "Hallow Even". Hallow means holy or saint, and even means eve, the night before something. ... Hallowe'en is a contraction for Hallow Even, the night before All Saint's Day. The apostrophe stands for the missing “v”.
Traditionally, All Hallows’ Eve was celebrated the night before All Saints Day, with bonfires, feasting on apples and nuts, and mocking evil with costumes and masks. All Saints Day was celebrated with worship services that used hymns and liturgy to remember the saints and proclaim God’s promises of eternal life.
Together these two events formed an eve and a holiday, like so many of our special celebrations. Their hybrid blend of an ancient fire festival and a religious feast personified humanity’s many images and feelings about death and a world beyond their own. Not merely evil or good, but mysterious and redeemed.
In Medieval Europe there was a belief that on ALL HALLOWS EVE anyone who died the previous year without being reconciled with you might come to visit, to haunt you. They might appear to you as a ghost hoping to shock you into forgiving them and into praying for them. You might be wise leave some treats by the door to appease them - some cake or cookies so they wouldn’t do you any mischief. Halloween was seen as an opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation.
IDEA for FAMILIES with children -
Seattle-based pastor, Mary C. Lindberg encourages us to draw inspiration from the ways our predecessors observed All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints Day together. This year, with indoor Halloween parties curtailed, why not take a walk with you children in a nearby cemetery. "Wonder about the people buried there and stories the headstones might suggest. Share stories of members of your family and congregation who have died, especially stories about how they lived their lives of faith. Affirm the lives and service of those who now rest in God and the love they received from God throughout their lives.”
We give you thanks, O God, for all the saints who ever worshiped you
Whether in brush arbors or cathedrals,
Weathered wooden churches or crumbling cement meeting houses
Where your name was lifted and adored.
We give you thanks, O God, for hands lifted in praise:
Manicured hands and hands stained with grease or soil,
Strong hands and those gnarled with age
Used as wave offerings across the land.
We thank you, God, for hardworking saints;
Whether hard-hatted or steel-booted,
Head ragged or aproned,
Blue-collared or three-piece-suited
They left their mark on the earth for you, for us, for our children to come.
Thank you, God, for the tremendous sacrifices made by those who have gone before us.
Bless the memories of your saints, God.
May we learn how to walk wisely from their examples of faith, dedication, worship, and love.
Safiyah Fosua, United Methodist Church