The bishop mentions the secular celebration of Halloween which has no place for Catholics. But the very word Halloween is “eve of All Hallows”, which is the eve of All Saints Day, a day of obligation.
When teaching my catechism students, I have always taught that although this has pagan roots, our Irish Catholics have used this as a time to prepare for the two feasts of All Saints and All Souls, and the importance of praying for our departed dear ones.
The ghosts I tell them is our human way of explaining the dead – that we should not fear them but rather pray for the souls of all those who have passed away – especially those whom they know. Viewing Halloween – with all its secularism – as not for Catholics, I feel, is the same way as how Christmas is looked at.
Christmas trees are not mentioned in the Bible, yet some churches display them alongside the Nativity scene. In fact, Jesus wasn’t even born on Dec 25, it has its roots as a pagan celebration of the Sun God.
But we know that the Church has taken on Dec 25 as liturgically Christmas – which is about God coming to earth as a baby to be a man, just like us. The Church sings We Three Kings when there is no mention in the Bible that there were three, and they weren’t even kings.
Christmas presents are not mentioned in the Bible but many Christians feel it is an obligation to exchange presents.
Chinese New Year has also been adopted into the liturgical calendar of Singapore and parts of Asia – it is a time when we honour our elders, visit friends and family to spread good tidings of God’s peace and blessings, and even have a special Mass where we thank God for a good Lunar New Year ahead.
So I think it is important for parents and catechists to impart our Catholic faith to our children during our festivals amid all the feasting and celebrations.