My Faith: Reclaiming Halloween's religious roots
A pagan altar constructed for Samhain, which Pagans celebrate around October 31.
October 31st, 2012
11:36 AM ET

My Faith: Reclaiming Halloween's religious roots

Editor's note: Christine Hoff Kraemer is managing editor of the Patheos.com Pagan Channel and an instructor in Theology and Religious History at Cherry Hill Seminary.

By Christine Hoff Kraemer, Special to CNN

(CNN) - As Halloween approaches, Americans rush to malls and shopping centers, credit cards in hand. Children are outfitted as ghosts, Disney characters, princesses and superheroes, while adults dress to impress with “sexy” witch, vampire or pirate garb. Cookies shaped like jack o’lanterns fly off the shelves along with bag after bag of packaged candy.

In American culture, Halloween has mostly become a reason for a good party.

So it may surprise you to learn that the roots of Halloween are religious. In fact, for Americans who practice contemporary Paganism, Halloween is one of the two most important religious holidays of the year. Known as Samhain (pronounced SOW-un), the holiday is modeled after the ancient Celtic festival that marked the beginning of winter.

In Ireland, Scotland and parts of what is now France, ancient people believed that on the night of Samhain, the veil between the living world and that of the dead grew thin. The festival was a time to honor one’s ancestors and to remember deceased family members, as well as to prepare for winter.

In some communities, windows and doors would be left open to invite the dead to visit. Herds would be culled and a feast prepared, with a portion set aside as a gift for the spirits. Those who were grieving spouses, parents, children or friends would hope, on that night, to receive a special communication from their loved ones, some message of love from the other side of the veil.

This ancient festival comes down to Americans through the Christian church. In Mexican Catholicism, it is still celebrated as El Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead, observed on November 2).

The Samhain trend grows globally

On this day, family members build altars with photographs of deceased loved ones, bright marigolds, special food items, candles and images of playful skeletons in bright costumes. Families visit the graves of their loved ones, often holding picnics in the cemeteries so that the spirits of the dead can join the feast.

American Pagans are inspired both by the ancient Celtic Samhain and the Mexican Day of the Dead. In Paganism, death is seen as part of a natural cycle. Every fall, farmers harvest the crops that feed us, and then the plants begin to die. The death of the crops in winter is necessary to help fertilize the land and prepare for another year’s growth. This cycle of growth and death sustains human life.

Human life and death are often seen similarly, as part of a natural cycle. We are born, we make contributions to our families and communities, we raise children and then we pass away so that those children can make the world their own.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Samhain is a time to contemplate mortality. But when Pagans remember their dead, they also affirm that those who have died are not wholly lost. As one Samhain prayer says, “What is remembered, lives.” Through remembering our ancestors and our loved ones, we maintain a connection to the past and to those we loved so dearly.

As a Pagan, I gather with friends and family on or near the night of October 31 to tell stories of our deceased loved ones. My beloved dead continue to teach me through the stories of their lives.

In years when I am grieving, I tell stories of my grandfather, who was orphaned as a teenager and lost his first wife to tuberculosis, but who learned to love again. In years when I am having adventures and taking risks, I remember my great-grandfather, who as a child once escaped from a locked schoolroom closet by tying the coats together and climbing out the window. And when I am nurturing my independence, I remember my grandmother, who lost her husband too early, but found her bliss in a close and loving group of friends.

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Halloween need not be a whirlwind of frantic social obligations and expensive purchases. Nor do you have to be Pagan to remember those who have passed over, or to make peace with your own mortality. This Samhain, I invite you to decorate not just with ghosts or witches, but also with photographs of your beloved dead.

Buy a bouquet of your grandmother’s favorite flowers, and invite friends to cook old family recipes for a Halloween potluck. Tell the family stories that your children or your spouse may have never heard; light candles, dim the lamps and listen to the wind. This year, let Halloween once again be a time for family and friends, and for welcoming the dark.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Christine Hoff Kraemer.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Halloween • Opinion • Paganism

soundoff (591 Responses)
  1. Hogan's Goat

    I was at a Halloween keg party once and some guy showed up dressed as the Devil with a tail and pitchfork. People poured beer on him all night and a biker cut off his tail and went around all night with it hanging out of his zipper. Anyone who thinks Halloween "glorifies Satan" should try dressing as Satan on Halloween. It's a time to laugh at the devil and possibly even kick his red butt.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  2. Reality

    Mocking Wicca and Paganism?

    Spells, curses, covens, black magic, witches, voodooing dolls, hoodooing the results, shadow books, maypoles,
    god(s) and goddess(es), Gerald Gardner et al??


    October 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  3. Meatwad

    This Halloween you won't like me when I'm angry. I am the Incredible Plum!

    October 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  4. A-Rod

    I love to celebrate those Old Pagan holidays 24/7/365. Every day reminds me of my Pagan ancestry – Sun Day, Moon Day, Tewes Day, Wodanaz Day, Thor's Day, Frigg Day, Saturn Day. They are all awesome. The months of the calendar have thier Pagan origin too.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  5. Anarchrist

    Plus their celebrations are full of much more awesome things than Xtians celebrations like drinking, feasting, and lots of secks (stupid filters). >:)

    Sadly, I have yet to enjoy a "proper" Beltaine.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • ladies luv d'log

      Seckz??? Let's invite Satan too!!! Not good around hard liquor, though. It's not that he can't handle it, it's that it tends to blow up, catch fire & stuff around him....

      October 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  6. illusive

    1. Paganism is a great and tolerant belief, much more stable and peaceful than most beliefs,
    2. The pagan rituals and practices on Halloween are some of the most ancient and revered in all of history
    3. CNN had this same article last year, good article and all (good to see pagan beliefs make it to the news) but a new one would be nice.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • The Bottom Line

      It's still bullshit, but at least it is a much nicer and more tolerant brand of bullshit than the major religions.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Spencer

      it should be noted that Paganism does not describe one religion, but rather is a blanket statement used to describe a plethora of religions.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • The Bottom Line

      I stand corrected: Paganism is a plethora of bullshits which are generally nicer that the bullshit of major religions.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • kaligaclark

      Loved the article!

      October 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Spencer

      That really was not directed at you The Bottom Line but at the misconception that Paganism describes just the ancient native Celtic religion.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • illusive

      You are absolutely correct, but for the purposes of explaining to the simple minded people in these comments I used the blanket term "Pagan"...I personally like the term "Folk Religions"

      October 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Merry Prankster

      Kind of a religion for posers, huh!

      October 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • illusive

      In actuality Christians are the posers, they stole/ borrowed MANY beliefs and practices from a variety of Pagan beliefs so that pagans would convert to Christianity. Halloween, Christmas, Easter etc... http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa1.htm

      If you want to insult people, please do your research first.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Spencer

      Merry Prankster: Not really. That would be making the assumption that they chose to believe in a pagan religion because they could not get in to one of the "main stream" religions. As well as implying that being in a religion was some how seen as "cool" or trendy & something to be desired.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Merry Prankster

      Sorry, didn't mean to yank any chains....well...OK...maybe a few. I can respect anyone's belief, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Agnostic, Atheist, whatever, I just get sick of the Deadhead one minute, Rastafarian the next type, you know? Stick your finger in the air and see what direction the wind is blowing.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Mike

      Just a point of clarification. Atheism is not a "belief" in so much as not believing in Bigfoot or the Tooth Fairy is not a "belief". It's more like a logical position where you require "proof" and you choose not to believe in an assertion of something's existence without it.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • illusive

      by dictionary definition Atheism is a belief
      "confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof"
      Technically there is no proof concerning the existence of god(s), for or against, so an Atheist believes there is no god(s).
      Also it is technically a religion (only technically) because a religion is classified as a group of people with the same belief.

      October 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Mike

      Illusive. Your dictionary is broken. Either that or you are deliberately trying to mischaracterize. Perhaps you should do a little reading about it and stop being stupid. "Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.[4][5][6][7] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[8][9] which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists."


      October 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • illusive

      There is no evidence that God(s) don't exist, just as there is no evidence that they do. You BELIEVE there is no God(s), belief is different than faith, I think you are confusing the 2 terms. That from from web dictionary, this is Webster
      "Conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence " Same idea, different wording.

      October 31, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • illusive

      Here is Webster's definition of Atheism
      " a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
      b : the doctrine that there is no deity "

      October 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Mike

      Illusive. Absence of belief is not belief. Most Atheists are are in that category which may also be specifically described as Agnostic Athiests versus Gnostic Athiests, which seems closer to what you are assuming Atheism is. Read up on Atheism a little more and don't try to come to such overreaching misconclusions based on the five word "defintions" of your common paperback Websters.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Apathiest

      Actually I think that illusive is in the right here, your pulling definitions out of thin air, hes actually quoting what I have confirmed in my own dictionary and what i have come to learn about all belief structures....disbelief is not the lack of belief, just a different one.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Pagan Steve

      You have a strong opinion on this Mike, one might say "You believe you know what you are talking about"

      October 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      The definition of a pagan I have found is one who does not follow christian religions, judaism, nor islam...pretty much makes most of the world pagans...its just another label

      October 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Apathiest

      Who Invited me-
      It is not also Buddhist, Shinto, Taoism, but for the most part you are correct. The term covers many beliefs from Wicca (new) to Mesopotamian (old), A slightly better blanket term would be "Folk Beliefs" or "Nature religions". Nature is a big and usually primary focus in most pagan beliefs.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  7. Throckton Hortonhearsahoo

    Some time today, the Jehovahs Witnesses will come to my door, as they do every year, and try to tell me how evil Halloween is, and how I shouldn't let my children go out on a satanic celebration.

    The Mormon family down the way used to invite our daughter to their "trunk or treat" parking lot gig, because they were terrified of actually letting their children acknowledge halloween, and be with non-Mormons.

    I do have to say, when people believe in invisible men in the sky, they believe lots of other hilarious things as well!

    October 31, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • boarddog

      "invisible men in the sky"
      I pity your narrow mindedness...

      October 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • meemee

      Well said.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Throckton Hortonhearsahoo

      Can you see god? No, he is invisible.

      Did god make man in his own image? God is a man.

      Where do Christians think he lives? Ask them, and they point to the sky.

      So how absurd to call an invisible man in the sky an invisible man in the sky.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Hogan's Goat

      ""invisible men in the sky" I pity your narrow mindedness..." Right, because you can actually see those little men in the sky? Let's all believe in fairies, too.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Choconet

      So the invisible air and wind don't exist either since you can’t see it. It’s a wonder you’re still alive I mean with your breathing the invisible stuff that really doesn't exist because you can’t see it.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Spencer

      Choconet: the compounds in the are are not invisible, electron microscopes have shown us that.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Merry Prankster

      We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart. H. L. Mencken

      October 31, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • cedar rapids


      So the invisible air and wind don't exist either since you can’t see it. It’s a wonder you’re still alive I mean with your breathing the invisible stuff that really doesn't exist because you can’t see it."

      except of course you can see the effects of wind on objects and even feel it on you. You can also see air in the form of bubbles in water, and can again feel its effectd when you hold your breath. Poor argument you are trying to make.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • JB247

      I cannot speak for the Jehovah's Witnesses, but being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) I would like to say you were either misinformed or you misunderstood the invitation your Mormon friends extended; especially concerning your comment about us not doing things with non-Mormons. Because we try to live our lives in a way that emulates Christ (although we are all far from perfect) we have an open invitation to all of our church meetings and activities put on by the Church regardless of religious or non-religious affiliation. We had a trunk or treat on Friday night to which a few people attended who were not members of our church. On Saturday night, my wife and I had a small Halloween get-together to which we invited non-members and we had a great time. Tonight, my wife and I are going to pass out candy at my "non-member" friend's house while his wife and him go trick-or-treating with their children, since we don't have any of our own yet to go trick or treating with. I know many members of my church who will be going trick or treating with their children in their neighborhoods tonight. I hope you will talk more with your Mormon friends and find out more about what they believe. If you want to know about someone's beliefs then ask them directly 🙂 Happy Halloween!

      October 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Throckton Hortonhearsahoo

      Uh, really? You do know that wind can be felt, and can be tested for and seen under an electron microscope, and subjected to chemical reactions, and all sorts of other satanic science things, which your imaginary friend cannot, right?

      I mean, are you really that stupid? You really think that because you cannot see air with the naked eye, then any and all invisibble imaginary beings are thus proved true? That is incredibly stupid.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Throckton Hortonhearsahoo

      I did not misunderstand them at all. A great many Mormons in the local church feel that way, that Halloween is to be avoided and they should heavily limit contact with non-Mormon children. I know this is not the Mormon party line, but there is a strong strain of that isolationism here, whether you like it or not. I cannot think of one Mormon child that puts on a costume and trick or treats around here, and I know quite a few families.

      Just how did you decide you knew how things were here?

      October 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT


      So the invisible air and wind don't exist either since you can’t see it. It’s a wonder you’re still alive I mean with your breathing the invisible stuff that really doesn't exist because you can’t see it.
      You are amazingly stupid.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • ladies luv d'log

      C'mon now: The mor(m)ons are monotheistic, so they believe in a MAN in the sky. Get it right. Or Satan won't share any of his GREAT dope.

      October 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm |

    Thanks for sharing. My youngest daughter has been returning to the faith of her ancient Celtic ancestors and frankly, I can't blame her. The Catholic faith I raised her in is rotten to it's core and has ceased to be relevant. Modern Christianty as practiced here in the US is equally appalling in it's vicious intolerance to anything it perceives as contrary to it's narrow interpetation.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Troy

      Don't be miffed that the one cylinder you were working on took a hiatus.

      October 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • akmac65

      ACADENA....Well said.

      November 4, 2012 at 2:46 am |
  9. Anarchrist


    Here come the religious nutjobs.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Dark Forest

      Yeah, it's a shame that we can't have sophisticated discussions. It feels more like fighting off hordes of zombies.

      October 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  10. Colin Morgan

    Pagan byrds are best byrds.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Libido Larry Longmember

      Nonsense. The tantric hippy girls are the best.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  11. OccupyEverything

    I prefer secular Halloween over Samhain.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  12. Z. Ombie

    You've got it so wrong!

    El Día De Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) PRE dates Catholicism. The Spaniards could NOT erase the native indian's ritual, so they incorporated it. All Saints Day is celebrated on Nov. 01, this is for the children. On Nov. 02, all Souls Day is for the adults.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • meemee

      Nope, you are incorrect. The natives in Mexico had nothing for this day until the Spanish came. The Aztec calendar shows nothing special for this time of year, nor does the Mayan. I lived in Southern Europe for a few years (the Balkans) in the Catholic and Orthodox regions all of the people still dress their bet on November 1st and go to the graveyards to place flowers and grieve for their loved ones. This is the Catholic adaptation of the old Pagan holy days; Day of the Dead or All Hallows. The Spanish language adaptation is Day of the Dead. Period.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • hawkechik

      I think you misunderstood, the way I read the observation in the article was that Dia de los Muertos is basically a pagan custom that was adopted into the Mexican church culture.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Z. Ombie

      @meemee Please educate yourself before trying to make a correction. My comment is factual. I am both Mexican & Catholic & I know my history. Quick citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead

      October 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  13. praconvention

    Spencer is right.
    Leave it to the Christians and Muslims to say and do hateful things right out of the gate.
    "Thou shalt not bear false witness .../steal" apparently does not apply to stealing and lying about holidays like Christmas, Easter and Halloween that Christians stole from the pagans and older religions. Put the Saturn back in Saturnalia.
    REAL Christians (like the Puritans) BAN Christmas and the other non-christian holidays because they actually remember their history and are honest about it.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Troy

      Christians didn't steal those holidays. They incorporated them in the church teachings so your pagan ancestors weren't frightened away from learning God's truth.

      October 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  14. ORChuck

    The word Halloween has a decidedly Christian origin. It comes from All Hallows Eve.

    The word eve means the might before. Christmas Eve is the night before Christmas day, for example. In just a few days, reports are likely to say something like, "On the eve of Election Day, the two presidential candidates are locked in a virtual tie." Eve means the night before.

    All Hallows Day is an older term for the holiday Christians today usually call All Saints Day which is November 1st.

    Among protestant Christians, All Hallows Eve is also known as Reformation Day because it was on the eve of All Hallows day in 1517 that Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis, an action which is commonly considered to be the beginning of the Reformation.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      Sadly you are wrong

      Halloween actually originally derives from Samhain which is a celtic tradition and has nothing to do with christianity, try again please.

      October 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Oíche Shamhna is of Irish pagan origin.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • ORChuck

      "Sadly you are wrong"

      No, I am correct. The WORD Halloween is, as I said, of Christian origin.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • illusive

      As a few others have said, you are way wrong, about 1000 years wrong, do some basic research. Oh also you might want to look into the actual origins of Christmas and Easter while your at it. Here is a spoiler...Christians Borrowed/ Stole just about all of their holidays and practices from other more ancient beliefs.
      Christmas- http://www.hope-of-israel.org/cmas1.htm
      Easter- http://www.religioustolerance.org/easter1.htm

      October 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • hawkechik

      And where the heck has everyone's reading comprehension gone??? He's commenting on the etymology of the word "Halloween."

      October 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • ISurvivedSandy

      As with many pagan festivals and traditions, the Roman Christians felt it would be a better political move to incorporate the native traditions into Roman ones (aka Christianity after a certain point). That is why Christianity had so many early converts. The early church basically said "Hey we have something like Saturnalia or Samhain in our religion too, we decorate and have feasts and pray to the departed and god for guidance too... only we call it Christmas or All Hallows Eve". You can see that the Spaniards did the same thing upon conquering Mexico and Central America. Merging of holidays and traditions is what gives the modern world its holidays. It's not like Christian's made everything in the universe up themselves! haha

      October 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • meemee

      You're right, but possibly not in the way you think. The Catholic's adapted the Pagan holiday as was their method of absorbing pagan holidays into their entire religion, be it Christmas (Solstice and the death of the Sun God who is reborn at Spring) or Easter, which is a pagan fertility festival honoring the goddess Eoster (goddess of the dawn), whose symbol is an egg. A famous painting in the Church of the Nativity in Israel has an old painting in it depicting Mary as Eoster holding up an egg, which she supposedly used to demonstrate to a Roman consul how resurrection works. The Catholics tried to cover and absorb all the pagan holidays and did. Catholicism means "universal" they weren't trying to hide this fact.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      why do you think the Catholic church celebrates All Saints Day (All Hallows Day) on November 1st?

      Hint: They co-opted Samhain, just like they co-opted Christmas.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • kaligaclark

      Good grief, some people think everything comes from 'christianity' even though it is NOT the oldest religion in the universe. Christians do what they can to steal all holidays so the churches can make more money, that is ALL this is about. I would prefer to change the holiday FROM 'halloween' to it's ORIGINAL version Samhain! The christians RUINED the Pledge of Alligiance too. They added the words 'under god'. I of course respect the ORIGINAL meaning and ONLY say the original words. From now on I will no longer celebrate halloween the holiday stolen by christians, but will now celebrate the ORIGINAL Sahmain. Thank you!!!

      October 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints%27_Day

      The Catholic church has a long history of co-opting pagan holidays and their traditions into Christianity.

      The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731–741) of an oratory in St. Peter's for the relics "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world", with the day moved to 1 November and the 13 May feast suppressed.

      This fell on the Celtic holiday of Samhain, which had a theme similar to the Roman festival of Lemuria, but which was also a harvest festival. The Irish, having celebrated Samhain in the past, did not celebrate All Hallows Day on this 1 November date, as extant historical docvments attest that the celebration in Ireland took place in the spring: "...the Felire of Oengus and the Martyrology of Tallaght prove that the early medieval churches [in Ireland] celebrated the feast of All Saints on April 20."

      October 31, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Dark Forest

      Concerened Citizen: I think you misunderstood, ORChuck is explaining the origin of the word halloween, not the origin of the holiday itself. While the holiday does date back to pagan roots (as explained in the article), the term "haloween" does not.

      October 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  15. shiststone

    Americans spend approximately 7 billion dollars on Halloween EACH year. That's more than is spent on the general election which includes the Senate, House, and the Presidency. Just recently, the M.D. Anderson clinic in Houston proposed a 10 Billion dollar program to end cancer..........that's over the NEXT 10 YEARS.........so that's 1 –ONE–billion dollars PER YEAR.
    Why don't we honor the deceased victims of cancer and give more hope to future generations by declaring a ONE YEAR moratorium (pun intended) on Halloween? Instead of buying a lot of plastic and sugar, spend one year's worth of ghouls and ghosts on speeding up finding a cure for cancer?

    October 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • captnavenger

      Why pick on Halloween alone? How about extending that moratorium to Christmas and Easter? Valentine's Day deserves it, for sure. Never was fond of the parents' days. They always sneak up on you. 4th of July? I can think of a million reasons we could hang our heads in shame for one year, and save ourselves from a lot of bumper-to-bumper headaches.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  16. Ann

    Paganism is a much more beautiful religion than Christianity.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Anarchrist

      [Dang it, I thought I clicked on Reply to you]
      Plus their celebrations are full of much more awesome things than Xtians celebrations like drinking, feasting, and lots of secks (stupid filters). >:)

      Sadly, I have yet to enjoy a "proper" Beltaine.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  17. Chase

    @Hunter, someone molested you at bible school huh?

    October 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Rev. Bob, aquitted

      There's a lot of that going on.

      October 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • ladies luv d'log

      Whoa there. Get in line!! Can't molest them all at once

      October 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Hogan's Goat

      Probably EVERYONE molested him.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  18. Enough already

    We don't need any freaking religion to tell us how to enjoy ourselves.

    Stop trying to usurp a secular holiday for your religious agenda. The damn Christians already did the to Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

    Stop using holidays as opportunities for propaganda.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Pat

      Samhain began as a quasi-religious holiday. It's the Christians that stole it and obscured its pagan meanings (just as they have with all the other pagan seasonal observations).

      October 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Troy

      Speaking of the Winter solstice, a Holy event is occurring this year. Watch out pagans.

      October 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  19. Rational Libertarian

    Oíche Shamhna as Gaeilge.

    That's for all the Gaelic speakers.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  20. Atheist Hunter

    If your dead ancestor is visiting you on Halloween it is a demon, not your family.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Spencer

      And this is why we can't have nice things.

      October 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Deborah Doesn't Do Atheism Anymore

      I'm guessing your the house with its lights off.

      October 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • pp

      my dad's a demon

      October 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • James

      So...... I bet you protest funerals also............

      October 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Anarchrist

      So when Jesus rose, he was a demon. Got it. Thanks for the clarification.

      October 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Whatever

      You don't "know" that. That's why you have faith. Science says that your beliefs are illusions. But clearly, since it hasn't stopped you from believing in whatever it is that you do. I can only hope that eventually your beliefs will not continue to cause harm to others who choose to think differently.

      October 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • USDude

      Great post – Not sure why so many Christians celebrate this "holiday" – best to think again about celebrating this pagan holiday – actually, don't think about it – just don't do it.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • meemee


      No, a ZOMBIE ..... by definition.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • meemee


      Then you must not celebrate ANY Christian holidays because they were all taken from pre-existing and contemporary pagan holidays!

      October 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • NotReally

      To Anarchist; No. Jesus is not a demon. To pp; Neither is your father. If you believe in the Holy Scriptures, Demons are not spirits that were at one time human, and the dead are aware of nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5). If you don't believe in the scriptures, then you are free to believe whatever you wish (of course). The Holy Scriptures are nothing more than a basis or source of information one chooses to believe. The scriptures themselves tell us to examine the scriptures with great care to see if what is contained in them is true (Acts 17:11). Just a little clarification based on the scriptures.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • USDude

      Meemee – you are correct – I don't celebrate Easter (pagan holiday) my family and I celebrate "Resurrection Sunday". We also do not celebrate Christmas with presents and Santa Claus – We celebrate the birth of Jesus.... So yes, I do not advocate Christians celebrate any of the pagan holidays – It's time we Christians take back our religion from the pagans!

      October 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Dark Forest

      What's sad is the Bible tells these kinds of people to just keep believing no matter what, even when all of us try to explain to them how insane they are. 🙁

      October 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Troy

      Dark Forest, enjoy your buddy Satan because he enjoys fools.

      October 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Hogan's Goat

      "What's sad is the Bible tells these kinds of people to just keep believing no matter what, even when all of us try to explain to them how insane they are." The first thing any cult will tell you is that you can trust only them. Everyone else is Satan in disguise. It works beautifully.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • RedskinsFan

      "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

      Seriously, learn to stop forcing your religious hoopla onto others. She prays to many gods, nature and such. You pray to one... and his son. Respect her views and move on. She respects yours. When we don't, your people burn her people's sacred tree, burn them as witches, torture them to death, etc. Back when her people had the upper hand, they killed your people by feeding you to lions, nailing you to wooden crosses, stoning, etc.

      Enough. Learn to keep your beliefs to yourself and not to force them on others. How much better would this world be? Listen to the song "Imagine" by John Lennon and try to live it. Otherwise, go live on a private island somewhere, just stop wasting our air and bandwidth with all the "holier than thou" hoackum.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.