Halloween

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apaleífo̱

Puritan Board Freshman
Actually, it's not that different at all. How is having a gargoyle on your porch any different from having an effigy of Guy Fawkes? They are both clearly villainous in the eyes of the celebrant -- and they are not being worshipped or perceived of as good in any way.
I do think it's different....the guys were never used for decoration but only to be burned. It's a very old way of demonstrating popular hatred and loathing (sometimes also done in Britain with political figures and sometimes with the pope)
Do you believe, then, that if I had a gargoyle on my porch, that I would be celebrating the gargoyle?
 

apaleífo̱

Puritan Board Freshman
as for the skulls on grave stones, to judge by local graveyards it's perhaps more of an eighteenth-century thing than earlier - I may be wrong.
They are intended to put the passer-by in mind of his own mortality, a memento mori
"Lord, let me know mine end, and the number of my days: that I may be certified how long I have to live..." as the psalmist says
That's exactly what I said several posts ago. And it's not justan eighteenth-century thing: 17th-century Puritan graveyards in New England are rife with them.
sorry c - I missed that post! I'm trying to keep up while doing several other things at the same time here, not conducive to clarity.
That's very interesting what you say about the Puritan graveyards. Here I've mostly noyiced them on slightly later stones. Either way - though the shudder they send down the spine may be identical, I think they're essentially symbolic of mortality which is good to remember - not of the powers of darkness, and definitely not for fun
How, then, do you feel about Calvinist Gothic writers like Charles Robert Maturin who clearly exploited the enjoyment that his readers derived from Gothic fiction while at the same time making important theological points in his novel?
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
as for the skulls on grave stones, to judge by local graveyards it's perhaps more of an eighteenth-century thing than earlier - I may be wrong.
They are intended to put the passer-by in mind of his own mortality, a memento mori
"Lord, let me know mine end, and the number of my days: that I may be certified how long I have to live..." as the psalmist says
That's exactly what I said several posts ago. And it's not justan eighteenth-century thing: 17th-century Puritan graveyards in New England are rife with them.
sorry c - I missed that post! I'm trying to keep up while doing several other things at the same time here, not conducive to clarity.
That's very interesting what you say about the Puritan graveyards. Here I've mostly noyiced them on slightly later stones. Either way - though the shudder they send down the spine may be identical, I think they're essentially symbolic of mortality which is good to remember - not of the powers of darkness, and definitely not for fun

-----Added 10/12/2009 at 04:42:34 EST-----

Actually, it's not that different at all. How is having a gargoyle on your porch any different from having an effigy of Guy Fawkes? They are both clearly villainous in the eyes of the celebrant -- and they are not being worshipped or perceived of as good in any way.
I do think it's different....the guys were never used for decoration but only to be burned. It's a very old way of demonstrating popular hatred and loathing (sometimes also done in Britain with political figures and sometimes with the pope)
Do you believe, then, that if I had a gargoyle on my porch, that I would be celebrating the gargoyle?
not quite sure what you mean. if you ceremonially burned the gargoyle, I might believe you meant to show you thought it was a bad thing. If the children here had refrained from burning the guys and kept them as decorations on their porches instead, that would also have altered the symbolism
 

apaleífo̱

Puritan Board Freshman
not quite sure what you mean. if you ceremonially burned the gargoyle, I might believe you meant to show you thought it was a bad thing. If the children here had refrained from burning the guys and kept them as decorations on their porches instead, that would also have altered the symbolism
I can't tell at this point whether you are deliberating misunderstanding what I am saying or not. Do you really not understand what Halloween has become in the 21st century? If you don't enjoy ghost stories, then that is perfectly fine -- but please stop assuming that those who do are doing so because they are glorifying evil.
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
How, then, do you feel about Calvinist Gothic writers like Charles Robert Maturin who clearly exploited the enjoyment that his readers derived from Gothic fiction while at the same time making important theological points in his novel?
I've never even heard of him I'm afraid. I'd have to read some of his work before I could possibly answer.
Forgive me, I'll hope to catch up with the thread in the morning, but for now I have to hit the hay! lots to do in the morning. Goodnight and God bless

-----Added 10/12/2009 at 04:51:16 EST-----

I can't tell at this point whether you are deliberating misunderstanding what I am saying or not.
no, certainly not! but in scotland it's late at night so I have to leave it for now. Apologies
 

apaleífo̱

Puritan Board Freshman
Is there no one on this board with even a rudimentary understanding of the Protestant tradition in Gothic fiction? :candle:
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
About death heads:

I've found some pictures, but I'm having a lot of trouble putting links up...

Anyway, I think that books are the best resource for finding information about this, as most of the writing has been scholarly rather than popular. I did find this excerpt on University of Houston's's Digital Library though.

In cemeteries, which were now described as "dormitories," winged cherubs replaced the grisly death's heads and winged skulls that marked early Puritan graves. Republican symbols--such as urns and willows--began to appear in graveyards after the American revolution and the discovery of the archaeological remains at Pompeii. The wording on gravestones also changed--reflecting a dramatic transformation in American views of death. Instead of saying, "Here lies buried the body of," inscriptions began to read, "here rests the soul of," suggesting that while the corporeal body might decay the soul survived. Death was increasingly regarded as merely a temporary separation of loved ones.
Digital History
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
At what point does something's ancestral connection with a pagan ritual become irrelevant to is morality?

Because if I remember correctly, the word "luck" has pagan origins as well. Why is that "okay" and Halloween isn't?
 

apaleífo̱

Puritan Board Freshman
At what point does something's ancestral connection with a pagan ritual become irrelevant to is morality?

Because if I remember correctly, the word "luck" has pagan origins as well. Why is that "okay" and Halloween isn't?
:ditto: Thank you! Exactly the point that I've been trying to make for this entire thread!
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
At what point does something's ancestral connection with a pagan ritual become irrelevant to is morality?

Because if I remember correctly, the word "luck" has pagan origins as well. Why is that "okay" and Halloween isn't?
Even if the ancestral connection is so lost as to be meaningless now, the RCC connection is relatively recent and their attachment to it also places it under false religion and popery. Either way, you don't get to celebrate it. :smug:

-----Added 10/12/2009 at 05:55:56 EST-----

This is the longest thread in history.....
I wonder what the record is? I know we have had way longer ones. The record holder is probably a goof off thread or a baptism thread.
 

apaleífo̱

Puritan Board Freshman
At what point does something's ancestral connection with a pagan ritual become irrelevant to is morality?

Because if I remember correctly, the word \"luck\" has pagan origins as well. Why is that \"okay\" and Halloween isn't?
Even if the ancestral connection is so lost as to be meaningless now, the RCC connection is relatively recent and their attachment to it also places it under false religion and popery. Either way, you don't get to celebrate it. :smug:
Oh, yes I do -- until I've been convinced that the modern day practice of reading ghost stories and handing out candy is in any way connected (other than by old custom) to paganism. I would not have celebrated Halloween in the 17th century because our modern idea of Halloween as a festival for spooky fiction didn't even exist back then. But Halloween is a very different kettle of fish now and it is disingenous to pretend otherwise. Or do you not approve of celebrating St. Valentine's Day either?

p3yak said:
It's quite likely that you're the only one. I don't much enjoy Gothic fiction. Where should one begin?
If you're thinking of Anne Rice, the Twilight series, or the current crop of Gothic fiction in general, then I don't much enjoy it either. However, the old eighteenth and nineteenth-century novels are really first-rate. I would recommend:

Charles Robert Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer

Matthew Lewis's The Monk

William Beckford's Vathek

Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland

Maturin's is the best, particularly from a Reformed point-of-view, but they're all well-written and worth a look. If you do decide to hunt down this genre, though, be warned: there are a few skunks out there, in particular James Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner which has one of the most unfair and repulsive representations of Calvinism and predestinarians that I have ever laid eyes on.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
At what point does something's ancestral connection with a pagan ritual become irrelevant to is morality?

Because if I remember correctly, the word "luck" has pagan origins as well. Why is that "okay" and Halloween isn't?
Even if the ancestral connection is so lost as to be meaningless now, the RCC connection is relatively recent and their attachment to it also places it under false religion and popery. Either way, you don't get to celebrate it. :smug:
I don't celebrate it, so that's not a problem for me. :)

edit: But my original question still stands.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Thanks, c: I'll take a look at what our local library has.
 

apaleífo̱

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks, c: I'll take a look at what our local library has.
If you have trouble finding any of them, let me know and I'll send you a link to an online copy. At any rate, I truly look forward to hearing what you think of them!
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
More information on Death's Heads.

The earliest of the three is a winged death's head, with blank eyes and a grinning visage. Earlier versions are quite ornate, but as time passes, they become less elaborate. Sometime during the eighteenth century -- the time varies according to location -- the grim death's head designs are replaced, more or less quickly, by winged cherubs. This design also goes through a gradual simplification of form with time. By the late 1700's or early 1800's, again depending on where you are observing, the cherubs are replaced by stones decorated with a willow tree overhanging a pedestaled urn. If the cemetery you are visiting is in a rural area, the chances are quite good that you will also find other designs, which may even completely replace one or more of the three primary designs at certain periods. If you were to search cemeteries in the same area, you would find that these other designs have a much more local distribution. In and around Boston, however, only the three primary designs would be present.
Death's Head, Cherub, Urn and Willow

And my friend sent me some links to some Death's Heads in the Boston area.

Flying death's heads: Boston Cityviews

Indian Converts Collection | Study Guide | Reading Gravestones - this site is great, because it includes the dates of the gravestones shown, so you can see how the images change from the 17th to 18th century.
 

historyb

Puritan Board Junior
At what point does something's ancestral connection with a pagan ritual become irrelevant to is morality?

Because if I remember correctly, the word "luck" has pagan origins as well. Why is that "okay" and Halloween isn't?
Even if the ancestral connection is so lost as to be meaningless now, the RCC connection is relatively recent and their attachment to it also places it under false religion and popery. Either way, you don't get to celebrate it. :smug:
Oh, yes I do -- until I've been convinced that the modern day practice of reading ghost stories and handing out candy is in any way connected (other than by old custom) to paganism. I would not have celebrated Halloween in the 17th century because our modern idea of Halloween as a festival for spooky fiction didn't even exist back then. But Halloween is a very different kettle of fish now and it is disingenous to pretend otherwise. Or do you not approve of celebrating St. Valentine's Day either?

p3yak said:
It's quite likely that you're the only one. I don't much enjoy Gothic fiction. Where should one begin?
If you're thinking of Anne Rice, the Twilight series, or the current crop of Gothic fiction in general, then I don't much enjoy it either. However, the old eighteenth and nineteenth-century novels are really first-rate. I would recommend:

Charles Robert Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer

Matthew Lewis's The Monk

William Beckford's Vathek

Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland

Maturin's is the best, particularly from a Reformed point-of-view, but they're all well-written and worth a look. If you do decide to hunt down this genre, though, be warned: there are a few skunks out there, in particular James Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner which has one of the most unfair and repulsive representations of Calvinism and predestinarians that I have ever laid eyes on.

I found a compilation on Project Gutenberg

The Lock and Key Library - Project Gutenberg which has Charles Robert Maturin among others in there
 

SueS

Puritan Board Freshman
This thread has offered some very interesting reading. However, I have a couple of comments/questions.....

So many on this board are vehemently against the celebration of Christmas and I understand where they are coming from even though I haven't been convicted in that area (yet). However, I'm seeing so many comments that are defending the celebration of Halloween (and I'm not even insinuating these are the same people, so don't jump all over me!) - sure seems to be a strange dicotomy on a Reformed board.

Also, there has been a recurring theme of "they're not really celebrating a pagan holiday" and that those opposed to Halloween are overusing the "flee the very appearance of evil" verses. So, if I'm not aware that I'm drinking poison does that make it less poisonous? I've done many things in my life that I didn't realize were wrong which did great harm to me spiritually. I dabbled in the occult back in my early adulthood and still bear the scars of that - the dark side is very real and making it into a "harmless" cultural celebration is In my humble opinion playing with fire.
 

apaleífo̱

Puritan Board Freshman
This thread has offered some very interesting reading. However, I have a couple of comments/questions.....

So many on this board are vehemently against the celebration of Christmas and I understand where they are coming from even though I haven't been convicted in that area (yet). However, I'm seeing so many comments that are defending the celebration of Halloween (and I'm not even insinuating these are the same people, so don't jump all over me!) - sure seems to be a strange dicotomy on a Reformed board.

Also, there has been a recurring theme of "they're not really celebrating a pagan holiday" and that those opposed to Halloween are overusing the "flee the very appearance of evil" verses. So, if I'm not aware that I'm drinking poison does that make it less poisonous? I've done many things in my life that I didn't realize were wrong which did great harm to me spiritually. I dabbled in the occult back in my early adulthood and still bear the scars of that - the dark side is very real and making it into a "harmless" cultural celebration is In my humble opinion playing with fire.
Well, I have nothing against celebrating Christmas either. Also, Halloween does not necessarily have anything to do with occultism - or perhaps my version of Halloween is seriously different from the kind of Halloween that all your neighbors practice? At any rate, if I had once dabbled in the occult, I would probably shy away from it as well.
 

ChariotsofFire

Puritan Board Sophomore
After reading many posts on this thread, I still can not grasp why Christians want to celebrate Halloween. People say, well we don't celebrate it that way that the world does. I don't think it's a matter of how you celebrate this holiday. The very nature of the holiday Halloween is wrong. Its based on occultism and it still has links to the occult. It also makes light of some serious evil. Next we'll have Christians celebrating the "good" aspects of gay pride day.

Why not celebrate a different holiday? We have a fantastic holiday to celebrate. It's called Reformation Day. Celebrate the great truths that came out of the Reformation.

-----Added 10/12/2009 at 11:48:54 EST-----

At what point does something's ancestral connection with a pagan ritual become irrelevant to is morality?

Because if I remember correctly, the word "luck" has pagan origins as well. Why is that "okay" and Halloween isn't?
Even if the ancestral connection is so lost as to be meaningless now, the RCC connection is relatively recent and their attachment to it also places it under false religion and popery. Either way, you don't get to celebrate it. :smug:
I don't celebrate it, so that's not a problem for me. :)

edit: But my original question still stands.

Halloween is still based in occultism and evil. Halloween hasn't just become a Harvest Festival without the witches and devils and lanterns. Because if Halloween got rid of all the evil aspects to it, and it was still called Halloween, then I wouldn't mind celebrating Halloween. But since it still has some truly wicked aspects to it, I'll keep celebrating the Reformation.


Also, there is no such thing as luck. Christians should take that word out of their vocabulary.
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
After reading many posts on this thread, I still can not grasp why Christians want to celebrate Halloween. People say, well we don't celebrate it that way that the world does. I don't think it's a matter of how you celebrate this holiday. The very nature of the holiday Halloween is wrong. Its based on occultism and it still has links to the occult. It also makes light of some serious evil. Next we'll have Christians celebrating the "good" aspects of gay pride day.

........

Halloween is still based in occultism and evil. Halloween hasn't just become a Harvest Festival without the witches and devils and lanterns. Because if Halloween got rid of all the evil aspects to it, and it was still called Halloween, then I wouldn't mind celebrating Halloween.
I agree - but if Halloween got rid of all its evil aspects, what would be left?
The average un-churched child certainly thinks it's about witchcraft and the occult, and if they hadn't grasped that before, Harry Potter would have helped them out.
You might disagree with keeping Christmas, as SueS pointed out, but the prima facie point of Christmas is peace and goodwill and the birth of Jesus, and everyone knows it.
As for Halloween - if it's not about the powers of evil, then what is the significance of Halloween as currently celebrated?
 

Bern

Puritan Board Freshman
In England, trick or treating is basically groups of kids going around threatening to do something horrible to you if you don't give them sweets/ money etc. Elderly people can be very frightened by things like that, even if it is seemingly innocent. Its just an excuse to indulge the flesh if you ask me. Kids prowling around in the dark scaring people just doesn't fit in with what is "pure and lovely" In my humble opinion.
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
In England, trick or treating is basically groups of kids going around threatening to do something horrible to you if you don't give them sweets/ money etc. Elderly people can be very frightened by things like that, even if it is seemingly innocent. Its just an excuse to indulge the flesh if you ask me. Kids prowling around in the dark scaring people just doesn't fit in with what is "pure and lovely" In my humble opinion.
That is NOT at all how it is observed here.

Here young children wander the neighborhood with parents & older siblings & visit the home on their street. Most every old person I know loves it!

Old widows & disabled people specially enjoy the visits of all of their neighbors with the kiddies all dressed up. It is a real friendly evening.

All of the coments about paganism makes me wonder if some people have ever seen a haloween.
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
In England, trick or treating is basically groups of kids going around threatening to do something horrible to you if you don't give them sweets/ money etc. Elderly people can be very frightened by things like that, even if it is seemingly innocent. Its just an excuse to indulge the flesh if you ask me. Kids prowling around in the dark scaring people just doesn't fit in with what is "pure and lovely" In my humble opinion.
I totally agree.
At least in Scotland they have the option of saying "sorry, no trick-or-treat here - guisers only!!"
A generation ago in England I don't believe Halloween even registered much with most people. There was ducking for apples, and there were turnip lanterns (which are prohibitively hard work to make) and that was about it. It was subsumed in the much bigger and better Guy Fawkes Day, aka bonfire night, five days later. That was about a great Providential deliverance, as even non-Christians understood.
It would be a fascinating sociological study to trace the sinking of Gunpowder Plot traditions and the corresponding rise and rise of Halloween. I know who and what I think is ultimately behind it all. It certainly isn't of God.
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
another comment that originally passed me by -
...our modern idea of Halloween as a festival for spooky fiction...
Maybe the wires really are crossed - if it were really that, and only that, there might not be any problem.
I seriously don't think Halloween as now observed (and you have to take into account ALL its observers, not just the tots doing the rounds of a nice neighbourhood under safe supervision) could possibly be described in that way.
Besides that even if it were all a kind of one-night bookfest, still ghosts are one thing.....The occult is quite another.
 

apaleífo̱

Puritan Board Freshman
another comment that originally passed me by -
...our modern idea of Halloween as a festival for spooky fiction...
Maybe the wires really are crossed - if it were really that, and only that, there might not be any problem.
I seriously don't think Halloween as now observed (and you have to take into account ALL its observers, not just the tots doing the rounds of a nice neighbourhood under safe supervision) could possibly be described in that way.
Besides that even if it were all a kind of one-night bookfest, still ghosts are one thing.....The occult is quite another.
Perhaps Halloween is very different in my area of America than it is in Scotland? I know that Scotland has a reputation for the occult stretching back to the early seventeenth century...
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
Perhaps Halloween is very different in my area of America than it is in Scotland? I know that Scotland has a reputation for the occult stretching back to the early seventeenth century...
perhaps it is....one reason I think it's important to take all its manifestations into consideration.
Not but what, if you listen in the pumpkin section of any British supermarket, you're sure to hear someone grumbling about how there never used to be all this fuss round Halloween, but antisocial American "trick-or-treat" customs have ousted the harmless native traditions!
 
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