Halloween In A Cross-Cultural Perspective
By Oliver Harding
The first section gives an understanding of the meaning of Halloween ushered in by the evening of October 31. The discussion is set in perspective when the writer further discusses the concept of the sacred festival across cultures, comparing the event with ancestor veneration and devotion to deities in Africa before the advent of Christianity and Islam. Unfortunately this is still in practice in some African cultures. Chinua Achebe’s sacred week is cited. The issue of spirits and mortals in mutual traffic is discussed using the new yam festival in Igboland as a case study. Dr. Eze shows areas of similarities, for instance, aspects that look violent and deplorable. The article further assesses the effect of Christianity on Samhain festival. In response to the question, Public schools in America, secular or pagan?, he realistically argues that Halloween is pagan and poses a serious challenge. In no uncertain terms, he clearly explains how Harry Potter’s series project witchcraft. Are there lessons for the church? The writer answers in the affirmative. It should stop discriminating since, he suggests, it may create witches inadvertently. The church should be careful since even Shakespeare wrote wonderful series of plays and sonnets which attracted, attracts and will continue to attract Christians and non-Christians for centuries. The writer passionately reveals the vulnerability of children which the Harry Potter series is taking advantage of. The new repackaging of witchcraft in a fictitious novel is attractive to children (and adults) since it is user friendly. He suggests that the church should submit to God and actively resist the devil. Finally, he assesses the effect of American paganism, observing that witchcraft and occultism have gained official acceptance in the American school curriculum and the resultant effect is felt globally since America is dominating in economy and politics. The account of the eventual deliverance of a family through the intervention of the writer under the direction of the Holy Spirit, is a practical demonstration of the effect of the new repackaging of this user-friendly occult practice.
The writer’s prediction that American children will be inclined to the occult in the next generation can also be unfortunately extended to other parts of the world, including Africa. Access to the Internet has greatly contributed to this sad state of affairs. This article undoubtedly is the most revealing I have read in recent times. I must admit that I was ignorant of the true meaning of Halloween and it is evident that there are many Christians like me who are in the same state. The incident that comes to me mind happened in a secondary school in Sierra Leone where a group of girls introduced students into witchcraft. A sensitive believer who prayed and invited her pastor to one of their Lunch Time Fellowship Meetings spotted them. The Spirit-led pastor prayed and witches started confessing and identified some teachers who were also members. Their strategy was to eat together in school and any outsider who tasted their food eventually became a witch. They named some other secondary schools in Freetown where they had other members and this led to a massive revival in these schools since pastors were deployed to destroy the works of darkness. This shows the relevance of the article. There are several practices in some of our traditions that are in consonance with some of the teachings of Halloween and Christians must be on guard. Satan repackages his agenda for Christians who easily fall as prey.
This article is highly recommended to every Christian in order to understand the user friendly repackaged strategies of the enemy.
Oliver L.T. Harding, who obtained his GCE O & A Levels from the Sierra Leone Grammar School and the Albert Academy respectively, is currently Senior & Acting Librarian of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He is a part time lecturer at the Institute of Library, Information & Communication Studies (INSLICS), Fourah Bay College and the Extension Programme at the Evangelical College of Theology (T.E.C.T) at Hall Street, Brookfields; Vice President of the Sierra Leone Association of Archivists, Librarians & Information Scientists (SLAALIS); a member of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) and an associate of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP). His certificates, secular and sacred, include: a certificate and diploma from the Freetown Bible Training Centre; an upper second class B.A. Hons. Degree in Modern History (F.B.C.); a post-graduate diploma from the Institute of Library Studies (INSLIBS, F.B.C) a masters degree from the Institute of Library, Information & Communication Studies (INSLICS, F.B.C.) and a masters degree in Biblical Studies from West Africa Theological Seminary, affiliate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he won the prize for academic excellence as the Best Graduating Student in 2005. Oliver, a writer, musician and theologian, is married (to Francess) with two children (Olivia & Francis).
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