How the Catholic church pirated Halloween

How The Catholic church Pirated Halloween from Ireland   One way the Christian faith overcame Paganism in Ireland was to adopt the idea, ‘if you can’t beat ’em join ’em.’ Halloween is a perfect example. In the Catholic faith, Halloween has been transformed into All Saint’s Day. Not a bad conversion. Still honoring the dead. Not burning people at the stake as in the time of the Spanish inquisition. No boiling a priest’s feet in oil like poor Durmot O’Hurley in the sixteenth century. That one was during the unforgivable reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Halloween or All Hallows Eve is not a Christian holiday at all. It is a Pagan festival time and  referred to as Samhain.

Church window at St Patrick's Cathedral in County Armagh, N. Ireland

Church window at St Patrick’s Cathedral in County Armagh, N. Ireland

Here is  a list of more Pagan Irish beliefs  changed to Christian holy days or Customs.

The Blessings of water from Holy Wells……………….Christian Baptism

In Paganism, the number 3 was sacred ……………….In Catholicism, a monotheistic  religion, the one true god is thought to be a trinity: the father, son and holy ghost all rolled into one.

The ring around the Celtic Cross can be found to have a specific meaning, depending on who one talks to. One version is that the ring refers to a Roman sun god, Sol Invictus . Is it a coincidence then that the sun was revered greatly by the Pagan Celts?

The Holy Wells in Ireland were created by Pagan Celts, not Christian Saints.

Many of the first Christian monks of Ireland were former Celtic druids

The whole notion of a hell below the earth is rooted in  Celtic mythology.  The first Celtic tribes of Ireland. the Firbolg and the Tuatha De Danann battled it out, (to put it simply) and the Firbolg were banished to underground. We also think of God and heaven, a kind of Christian land of everlasting happiness to be up in the sky. The Celts prayed to the sun, the moon, and the stars.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADecorating a Christmas tree can also be traced back to Pagan roots. The druids had great reverence for all trees but one one practice is very closely correlated to the Christmas tree,  the Clootie tree. Usually growing by a sacred well or spring in Scotland or Ireland, small rags were tied to the branches as offerings to a goddess or natural spirit of the well. Today people leave rosaries, religious crosses or medallions of saints.

Do you know of any other pagan or Christian beliefs tied together?

2 thoughts on “How the Catholic church pirated Halloween

  1. This was really interesting to read about. I didn’t know there were so many similarities between the Catholic church and Paganism. I will have to remember that for next Halloween. Maybe my family will embrace some of those traditions. http://trinitychapel.org

    • Julia, thank you for your comment on my blog, celticthoughts.com. Funny how closely related the druids were with the first christian monks. In fact some of the first monks may have been converted druids. And yes, Halloween was actually invented by the Irish. Thank you for visiting my blog. Warmly, Brighid O’Sullivan

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