Friday, October 31, 2014

All Hallows Eve: A Christian Tradition

Many people of all faiths and traditions love to celebrate Halloween, but most of them have forgotten the important Christian roots of this festive holiday. "All Hallow's Eve," or "All Saints Eve" as it is known in the liturgy, has a rich tradition of tricks, treats, and tales.

One of the most famous Halloween stories, an Irish folk tale, goes something like this:
"A long long time ago, On route home after a night of good ol' irish drinking, Jack encountered the Devil and tricked him into climbing an apple tree telling him, "These apples are something neat, covered in caramel they're quite the treat." 
Once Satan got to the top, Jack quickly etched the sign of the cross into the bark at the bottom, thus trapping the Devil up in that tree.  
So, the Devil struck a bargain with Jack that he would never claim Jack's soul. So, After a life of sin, drink, and mendacity, Jack was refused entry into heaven when he died. 
The Devil, Keeping his promise, refused to let Jack into Sheol and instead tossed him a live coal straight from the fires of hell. It was a cold night, so Jack placed the coal in a hollowed out gourd (pumpkin) to stop it from going out, since which time Jack and his lantern have been roaming the earth looking for a place to rest."
Some of the most beloved Christian Activities for All Hallows' Eve include carving "jack-o-lanterns," praying for and placing candles on the graves of our loved ones, and trick-or-treating. The last one is among one of  the most popular; but its origins to our lost to many:
"By the twelfth century it was customary for children, dressed in black, to parade from house to house begging for any christian offerings of sugar, flour, or other ingredients to make 'Soul Cakes.'"
Because this "soul cake" tradition is likely the origin of "trick-or-treating" our youth at St. Mary's still make these tasty doughy treats each year in late October to celebrate Christian Charity and festivity. But the story of the soul cakes also remind Christians to remember the poor and the hungry. So we hope that this Hallow's Eve you'll also consider those less fortunate who need more than just candy once a night, and pray for them that their bellies may be full and their hearts may shine. This is our Prayer this Hallows Eve:
"O Gracious Lord, we pray for those who are in need of thy bounty, especially for our friends at the Utah Food and Care Coalition. We pray that we may be instruments in thy hand and that we may be generous in our givings. We pray for the souls of those who are lost and who seek thee day and night. We pray that we may be tools in thy hands, and a light to their feet, that they may find thee and come to thine peace, Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen."