The Controversy Over Halloween, A Simple Tradition Spurs Religiosity
Remember when life was simpler and there was no reading into the meaning of Halloween celebrations other than the good, clean fun you had? When trick or treating was safe and you never had to worry about anyone being offended? Halloween has been celebrated in one way or another for over a hundred years. However, more and more controversy surrounds this trick or treat holiday and has caused many a school system to give pause about whether to allow it to be celebrated in the school system or not. Although many still allow it, more and more have banned it. What has this fun holiday done to cause banishment from our schools?
Halloween Tradition and History Offends Some
The history of Halloween and origins of Halloween have caused many to declare that it is technically a religious holiday and as such should not be allowed in secular school systems. Why is Halloween a religious celebration? Well, because historically there is some reason to see this as a religious holiday; its roots come from two different perspectives and both have earned the ire of parents. Similar to the outcry over Christmas celebrations in the schools, school superintendents are starting to feel the pressure to tone down or totally eliminate Halloween from being celebrated in their schools.
With the ethnic and religious diversity that is prominent all over the country, there are many factions that object to the celebration of Halloween. Jews, Muslims and evangelical Christians have all gotten involved in the call to ban Halloween from public school systems. To their mind, Halloween is either a pagan or a Catholic holiday and neither historical reference is acceptable to them.
For Muslims, Halloween is a celebration of the devil and it forbids it because of this fact plus since it is a non-Muslim holiday it is found to be offensive. For Jews, the pagan and or Christian history surrounding the holiday have them denouncing any mention of the holiday in school systems. And for evangelical Christians, the belief that it is a glorification of the devil and evil deems it an unsavory holiday to be celebrated.
Halloween was originally derived from Samhain, a holiday in Celtic history that called for the celebration of the end of the summer as well as the time of year when souls were able to return to the homes they lived in while alive to be entertained. Then in the eighth century the Catholic Church moved All Saints day to November first hence making October 31, the "eve" of All Saints day which was also called "All Hallows Eve". This name eventually evolved to Halloween.
Regardless of the history of Halloween the bottom line is that more and more schools are struggling with whether or not this holiday is to be treated as a religious holiday or just a good fun day. Many schools would prefer to just have fun with it but the melting pot that is America is making this harder and harder to accomplish. Like most religious holidays it will probably become one of those holidays that are celebrated by the public outside but not discussed or celebrated in the schools.