Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
It feels like every year I write the same post. My favorite pagan holiday — All Hallows Eve — is coming! If you’re in NYC, you’ll see the weirdest of the weird come out that night. Hallowe’en (the spelling I learned as a child) is definitely the strangest night in NYC. This all begs to ask what the hell‘s this thing called Hallowe’en ? The festivities of the Hallows Eve started as a “yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the eve before the Western Christian feast of All Hallows [that] initially incorporated traditions from pagan harvest festivals and festivals honoring the dead, particularly the Celtic Samhain“ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween).
Since I’ve grown a fascination to the relation (similarities, papers, etc) between Paganism and Christianity, as well as the romanticism and beauty of death (sci-fi/horror movies) as portrayed in the painting Zusanna II (pictured), Hallowe’en remains as my favorite time of the year. The whole concept of the dead walking the earth always makes me curious. I guess that it’s a sacrilege and simply wrong as a Christian or acceptable as a Neo-Pagan Christian, in which “the environment that I grew up in, Pagan traditions co-existed with Christian (Catholic) ones.” The latter may be better explained in following text from the Library of Congress.
“Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic peoples, who were once found all over Europe, divided the year by four major holidays. According to their calendar, the year began on a day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. The date marked the beginning of winter. Since they were pastoral people, it was a time when cattle and sheep had to be moved to closer pastures and all livestock had to be secured for the winter months. Crops were harvested and stored. The date marked both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle.”
– Halloween: The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows, Jack Santino, The American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
One thing that I find ironically strange between various faiths is the belief of spirits, regardless of the belief of heaven, hell, reincarnation, ghosts or whatever other belief. As such, the whole idea of life and death as part of a continuous cycle (Sam.sa-ra) intrigues me. It’s almost as if life and death, Paganism and Christianity were one and the same. As such, many experts have accused Christians of taking pagan legends and/or rites like the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. The experts have quoted texts like the Mithraic (Zoroastrianism) communion liturgy, which states,
“He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made on with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation.”
– Mithra’s Contributions, Innvista
while the Bible says,
“53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
– John 6:53-54 (KJV)
“Mithra or Mitra is… worshipped as Itu (Mitra-Mitu-Itu) in every house of the Hindus in India. Itu (derivative of Mitu or Mitra) is considered as the Vegetation-deity. This Mithra or Mitra (Sun-God) is believed to be a Mediator between God and man, between the Sky and the Earth. It is said that Mithra or [the] Sun took birth in the Cave on December 25th. It is also the belief of the Christian world that Mithra or the Sun-God was born of [a] Virgin. He travelled far and wide. He has twelve satellites, which are taken as the Sun’s disciples… [The Sun's] great festivals are observed in the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox — Christmas and Easter. His symbol is the Lamb…”
– Swami Prapannananda, Christ the Saviour and Christ Myth (ISBN 8188446491, Vedanta Press , 1990)
“Harpur discovered that the New Testament is wholly based on Egyptian mythology, that Jesus Christ never lived, and that — indeed — the text was always meant to be read allegorically.”
– The Pagan Christ, CBC-TV, 2007
Other so-called experts like Kevin Williams have considered Christ as the resurrection of Mithra who was said to be the resurrection of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, Baldr, Attis and Dionysus and perhaps even more deities of the ancient world.
“Virtually all of the elements of Orthodox Christian rituals, from miter, wafer, water baptism, alter, and doxology, were adopted from the Mithra and earlier pagan mystery religions. The religion of Mithra preceded Christianity by roughly six hundred years.”
– Jesus as a Reincarnation of Mithra, Kevin Williams
Considering all this information regarding the relationship between Christianity, Paganism, Jesus the Christ and Mithra although heavily contradicted by the Catholic Church and groups like the Christian Apologetics (not to mention the persecution of Pagans), I might’ve to consider Hallowe’en a real religious holiday. Of course, I must admit that, although I see and understand the almost certain possibilities that real Christianity was corrupted by pagan beliefs and traditions, I still believe that Jesus is God incarnate.
For more information, I’d recommend reading the following.
- Celtic Christianity (Grace Magazine)
- Christianity Pagan Romans (UK Essays)
- Christmas Tree Debate (Associates for Scriptural Knowledge)
- New Enemies of Christianity (OrthodoxPhotos)
- Pagan Christian Holidays (The God Kind)
- Pagan Origins, Pagan History, Pagan Beliefs (Patheos)
- Russian Paganism and Christianity (RussianSIG)
- We Should Be More Pagan (The American Conservative)
- Why Did Christianity Succeed? (Frontline, PBS)
- Why Do Christians Celebrate Pagan Christmas? (einron, HubPages)