In the darkness and confusion of Halloween season, when even my fellow followers of Christ and their children participate in age-old pagan traditions in the name of “fun,” I want to shed some light on the matter with a short 2,000-word excerpt from a book I enjoy studying from time to time. The research of French patristic scholar and theologian Col. Jean Garnier gives us a deeper look into the furthest origins of the universal festival of the dead that we now celebrate as Halloween. It reveals the late-October/earl-November period to be a season celebrated throughout antiquity—and throughout the world—as an honorary tribute to the wicked antediluvians killed in the Flood. The macabre festivities are nothing short of resentment against God for this great primeval cataclysm. It is a Satanic holiday that evolved over millennia into the disguise of a child-friendly tradition, dark spiritual origins hiding beneath candy, costumes, and carved pumpkins, while practicing pagans everywhere commit ritual infanticide…
But with no further delay, a brief history on the ancient world…
Colonel J. Garnier
THE WORSHIP OF THE DEAD
INTRODUCTORY — THE DELUGE
There are some modern writers who have represented the various religious superstitions and idolatries of different nations as being the spontaneous invention of each race, and the natural and uniform outcome of human nature in a state of barbarism. This is not the case ; the theory is wholly opposed to the conclusions of those who have most fully studied the subject. The works of Faber, Sir W. Jones, Pococke, Hislop, Sir G. Wilkinson, Rawlinson and others have indisputably proved the connection and identity of the religious systems of nations most remote from each other, showing that, not merely Egyptians, Chaldeans, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans, but also the Hindus, the Buddhists of China and of Thibet, the Goths, Anglo-Saxons, Druids, Mexicans and Peruvians, the Aborigines of Australia, and even the savages of the South Sea Islands, must have all derived their religious ideas from a common source and acommon centre. Everywhere we find the most startling coincidences in rites, ceremonies, customs, traditions, and in the names and relations of their respective gods and goddesses.
There is no more convincing evidence of this fact than the common tradition in all these nations of the Deluge, as collected by Mr Faber, and more lately by the additional traditions of the Mandan and other North American Indians, in Mr Catlin’s interesting work on those tribes—showing that, with the exception of the Negro races, there is hardly a nation or tribe in the world which does not possess a tradition of the destruction of the human race by a flood; and the details of these traditions are too exactly in accordance with each other to permit the suggestion, which some have made, that they refer to different local floods in each case. Now Mr Faber has exhaustively shown in his three folio volumes that the mythologies of all the ancient nations are interwoven with the events of the Deluge and are explained by it, thereby proving that they are all based on a common principle, and must have been derived from a common source. The force of this argument is illustrated by the fact of the observance of a great festival of the dead in commemoration of the event, not only by nations more or less in communication with each other, but by others widely separated, both by the ocean and by centuries of time. This festival is, moreover, held by all on or about the very day on which, according to the Mosaic account, the Deluge took place, viz., the seventeenth day of the second month — the month nearly corresponding with our November. The Jewish civil year commenced at the autumnal equinox, or about September 20th, and the seventeenth day of the second month would therefore correspond with the fifth day of our month of November ; but as the festival was originally, as in Egypt, preceded by three days’ mourning, it appears to have been put back three days in countries where one day’s festival only was observed, and to have been more generally kept on November 2nd.
Mr Haliburton says: “The festival of the dead, or feast of ancestors, is now, or was, formerly observed at or near the beginning of November by the Peruvians, the Hindus, the Pacific Islanders, the people of the Tonga Islands, the Australians, the ancient Persians, the ancient Egyptians and the northern nations of Europe, and continued for three days among the Japanese, the Hindus, the Australians, the ancient Romans and the ancient Egyptians… Wherever the Roman Catholic Church exists, solemn Mass for All Souls is said on the 2nd November, and on that day the gay Parisians, exchanging the boulevard for the cemetery, lunch at the graves of their relatives and hold unconsciously their ‘feast of ancestors ‘ on the very same day that savages in far-distant quarters of the globe observe, in a similar manner, their festival of the dead. Even the Church of England, which rejects All Souls as based on a belief in purgatory and as being a creation of Popery, clings devoutly to All Saints.”
Again, with reference to the Peruvian festival of the dead, Mr Haliburton writes: “The month in which it occurs, says Rivers, is called ‘Aya Marca,’ from ‘Aya,’ a ‘corpse,’ and ‘Marca,’ ‘carrying in arms,’ because they celebrated the solemn festival of the dead with tears, lugubrious songs and plaintive music, and it was customary to visit the tombs of relations, and to leave in them food and drink. It is worthy of remark that this feast was celebrated among the ancient Peruvians at the same period and on the same day that Christians solemnise their commemoration of the dead—November 2nd.”
Again, speaking of the festival of agriculture and death in Persia, Mr Haliburton says, “The month of November was formerly called in Persia ‘the month of the angel of death.’ In spite of the calendar having been changed, the festival took place at the same time as in Peru;” and he adds that a similar festival of agriculture and death, in the beginning of November, takes place in Ceylon. A like ceremony was held in November among the people of the Tonga Islands, with prayers for their deceased relatives.
The Egyptians began their year at the same time as the Jews, and on the seventeenth day of their second month commenced their solemn mourning for Osiris, the Lord of Tombs, who was fabled to have been shut up in the deep for one year like Noah, and whose supposed resurrection and reappearance was celebrated with rejoicing. The death of the god was the great event in Paganism, as we shall explain later, and all the religious rites were made to centre round it.
In Mexico the festival of the dead was held on the 17th of November, and was regulated by the Pleiades. It began at sunset, and at midnight, as that constellation approached the zenith, a human victim, says Prescott, was offered up to avert the dread calamity which they believed impended over the human race. They had a tradition that, at that time, the world had been previously destroyed, and they dreaded that a similar catastrophe at the end of a cycle would annihilate the human race.
In Rome the festival of the dead, or “Feralia,” called “Dii Manes,” or “the day of the spirits of the dead,” commenced on February 17th, the second month of their year. In more ancient times, the “festival of the spirits,” believed to be the souls of deceased friends, was called “Lemuria,” and was held on May 11th. This also was the seventeenth day of the second month of the year at that time; for the old Latin year commenced April 1st, which month consisted of thirty-six days, so that May 11th was exactly the seventeenth day of the second month.
A feast called the “Anthesteria ” was also celebrated at Athens on February llth-13th, in honour of Bacchus, who was identical with the Egyptian Osiris, and there can be little doubt that it referred to the same event, the time being transferred to the second month of their year.
A similar variation in the period of the festival occurred sometimes in more modern times, but by far the most general period among the majority of nations is the beginning of November.
Mr Haliburton has some interesting arguments to prove that the festival in many nations was fixed by the first rising of the Pleiades above the horizon. There are certainly strong grounds for connecting the two events, and the very name Pleiades, from Pleo, “to sail,” and the belief that their rising marked the best time to start on a voyage, is suggestive of the event to which the feast referred.
But the Pleiades, as their other name, “Vergilige,” implies, are spring stars in the Northern Hemisphere, whereas the Deluge commenced in the autumn; nor does it appear that the festival of the dead, among the nations of the Northern Hemisphere, was ever connected with the rising of the Pleiades. If their festival was in any way regulated by them, it must have been by their setting. Nevertheless there was another event in the Mosaic account of nearly equal importance, which would be exactly marked by the rising of the Pleiades in the Northern Hemisphere, namely, the seventeenth day of the seventh month, when the ark rested on Mount Ararat, This also, being the commencement of the summer, would be the best time for starting on a voyage.
In the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are the reverse of ours, Mr Hull, speaking of the Australian Aborigines, says, “Their grand corroborees are held only in the spring (our autumn), when the Pleiades are generally most distinct, and their corroboree is a worship of the constellation which announces spring,” Mr Fyers says that “they dance and sing to gain the favour of the Pleiades (Mormodellick), the constellation worshipped by one body as the giver of rain.” Mr Haliburton adds, “Now the Pleiades are most distinct in the spring month of November, when they appear at the horizon in the evening and are visible all night.” He further says, “We are told by one gentleman examined by the Committee, that all the corroborees of the natives are associated with a worship of the dead and last three days.”
The Society Islanders also held a festival of the dead, and a first-fruits celebration in the month of November, connected with the rising of the Pleiades, called by them “Matarii i nia,” or ” The Pleiades above,” which marked the commencement of their year, or rather the first season of their year, the second being called “Matarii i raro,” “The Pleiades below.” This festival of the dead and of the first-fruits is evidently that referred to by Ellis as taking place “at the ripening, or completing of the year.” He says, “The ceremony was viewed as a national acknowledgment to the gods. When the prayers were ended, a usage prevailed resembling much the Popish custom of Mass for souls in purgatory. Each one returned to his home or family Marae, there to offer special prayers for the spirits of departed relatives.”
It is clear from these remarks that one or other of the two great events in the history of the Deluge, namely, the commencement of the waters and the beginning of their subsidence, were observed throughout the ancient world, some nations observing one event and some the other. It would also appear probable that the observance of this festival was intimately connected with, and perhaps initiated, that worship of the dead which, as we shall see, was the central principle of the ancient idolatry. So also the uniform character of the festival, the three days’ mourning which preceded it, and the identical day on which it was held by nations separated from each other by periods of probably several thousand years, are evidences of the unity of the religious system from which it emanated. It shows also that nations like the Aborigines of Australia, the South Sea Islanders and others, now sunk in barbarism, were probably off-shoots from one or other of the highly-civilised nations of antiquity.
Finally, the observance of this festival at, or about, the seventeenth day of the second month of the recognised year in exact accordance with the Mosaic account, by almost every race and nation of the earth, in commemoration of a world-wide cataclysm in which a few survivors saw all their friends and relations swept away by a mighty flood of waters, is overpowering evidence of the reality of the Flood and of the truth of the Bible; although for that very reason, in accordance with the spirit of the present day, modern criticism and modern science have done what they can to discredit it. The point, however, which we have to consider at present is this: that the similar religious rites and beliefs of different nations so widely separated from each other, in all of which the tradition of the Deluge is so deeply interwoven, could not have been the separate invention of each race. Speaking of all the various systems of Pagan idolatry which he examines, Mr Faber writes: “There is such a minute and regular accordance between them, not only in what is obvious and natural, but also in what is arbitrary and circumstantial, both in fanciful speculation and in artificial observance, that no person who takes the pains of thoroughly investigating the subject can avoid being fully persuaded that they must have all sprung from some common origin.”
I hope you enjoyed that excerpt. I encourage you to read more if you’re interested in the subject of the origin and development of the pagan gods and the worldwide spread of the mysteries of Babylon.
And now for a few verses to chew on as the “holiday” season approaches…
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thess. 5:22)
“…what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14)
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” (Rev. 3:19)