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Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of "All Hallows' Evening",[1] or All Hallows' Eve,[2]) is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries by non-Orthodox Christians, in various manners, on October 31.

For Western Christians, particularly Roman Catholics, October 31 initiates the Triduum of Hallowmas, encompassing the Western Christian observances of: All Hallows' Eve (Hallowe'en), All Saints' Day (All Hallows),[3] and All Soul's Day (Commemoration of All Faithful Departed), which lasts from October 31 to November 2 annually. These three dates (Triduum of Hallowmas) were set in the 9th century AD by Pope Gregory IV.[4]

According to some scholars, All Hallows' Eve is a Christianized feast initially influenced by Celtic harvest festivals,[5][6] with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. However, according to other academics, All Hallows' Eve originated independently of Samhain and has solely Christian roots,[7] becoming a secular observance in the modern era, and said to be based upon the pagan observances of the ancient Druidic Celts.

In the United States, modern day Halloween was established as a civil festival in 1921, when the city of Anoka, Minnesota made it an official civic event.

Protestant Evangelicals sometimes attack some of the Hallowe'en customs as "satanic", "druidic", "demonic" or "occult". These (largely inaccurate) characterizations arise mostly from the hostility of their Puritan forebears to the veneration of Saints.

Although Orthodox Christians observe All Hallows' Day on the First Sunday after Pentecost, the Orthodox Church recommends the observance of Vespers and/or a Paraklesis on the Western observance of All Hallows' Eve, out of the pastoral need to provide an alternative to popular celebrations.[8]

Orthodox Resources



For Children

  • Dennis Eugene Engleman. Halloween Town. Illustrated by Niko Chocheli. Regina Orthodox Press, 2009.
  • Against Halloween & Magic. Orthodox Christian Children.com (Inspiring the Ancient Church's Future Generation).


  1. "Of the stated rustic festivals peculiar to Scotland the most important was Hallowe'en, a contraction for All-hallow Evening, or the evening of All-Saints Day, the annual return of which was a season for joy and festivity."
  2. "Halloween, also called All Hallows' Eve, holy or hallowed evening observed on October 31, the eve of All Saints' Day...The pre-Christian observances influenced the Christian festival of All Hallows' Eve, celebrated on the same date."
  3. Orthodox Christians observe this day on the Saturday after Pentecost.
  4. "...One hundred years later, Pope Gregory IV decided that All Hallows' Eve would be held on October 31, All Saints' Day on November 1, and All Souls' day on November 2."
  5. "It is widely believed that many Hallowe'en traditions have evolved from an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain which was Christianised by the early Church."
  6. "Halloween." History.com. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
  7. "The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions also claims that Hallowe'en "absorbed and adopted the Celtic new year festival, the eve and day of Samhain". However, there are supporters of the view that Hallowe'en, as the eve of All Saints' Day, originated entirely independently of Samhain and some question the existence of a specific pan-Celtic religious festival which took place on 31st October/1st November."
  8. St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church (T.O.C.). No. 11 - Do Orthodox Christians Observe Halloween?


See also


External Links