[quote="Starrsmother, post:8, topic:343077"]
I think that it's fair to say that we know that Christianity borrowed from existing pagan tradition in the sense that we celebrate some holidays--such as the actual date of the Lord's birth (Christmas) on what was once a pagan holiday, the Feast of the Sun God. Additionally, All Soul's Day--the true feast we celebrate and upon which Halloween traditions are founded--is at the same time as pagans once celebrated their autumn or harvest festival. I suspect our church forefathers showed tremendous wisdom and foresight in these areas. They were bringing new pagan converts into Christianity. These pagans had no Jewish traditions to fall back on and rather than simply replace everything they already enjoyed with something new and different just because they could--they made it "fit". Nobody truly knows what day Jesus was really born. The Feast of All Soul's Day is a church feast and could have been celebrated on any of the 365 days of the year--or not at all--if the church fathers had so chosen. This does not in any way imply that the Christian religion itself is based on paganism. I don't even see many if any similarities personally. Though if there are such similarities, I'd enjoy learning of them and when and where they originated.:shrug:
The Feast of All Saint's Day, Nov. 1 (All Soul's Day falls on Nov. 2, which is celebrated as the Day of the Dead in Catholic countries such as Mexico and the Philippines), actually was celebrated on numerous days in the early Church in different locations. November 1, which was considered the 1st day of winter in several monastic traditions, was already considered a holy day, and as the Church in Germany celebrated the Feast of the Martyrs in a Mass on November 1, that was the day that was settled upon for All Saints Day around 800 A.D. There was no Germanic pagan tradition around Nov. 1 (or October 31), so the argument can''t be made that this was an appropriation of the Celtic holiday of Samhain. All Hallow's Eve began on the evening of Oct. 31 because many early Christians held to the Jewish tradition that a day (especially a holiday) began at sundown.
Much of what is popularly believed about the Celtic celebration of Samhain isn't even true, and had little to do with Hallowe'en, although both Protestants and neo-Pagans have both promoted the idea for their own reasons.
Samhain wasn't the name of a Celtic God, it was the name of the month of November. There is no historical evidence that it had anything to do with the dead, that was just a supposition by the Victorian folklorist Sir James Frazer who believed, based on Protestant traditions, that Catholic holidays originated from Paganism, so since the Catholics had a celebration honoring their dead on this date, it must have come from an earlier pagan religious holiday. He also supposed this was the start of the Celtic New Year, another tradition that has no evidence behind it.
What we know from the textual evidence tells us nothing about what the Celts, a people who had no written language, did before the coming of Christianity, so all our knowledge of Samhain comes from medieval writings by Catholic monks.
Samhain had no religious significance to the medieval Celts. It had no relevance to the harvest time, either, as that was long past. It was based around livestock, as this was the time of the year when cattle were moved from the highlands to the lowlands. It was also the time when cattle that could not be sustained through the winter were slaughtered, so it was a good time for the Celtic tribes and clans to meet, slaughter cows, make bonfires, do some trading, have political meetings, and resolve disputes. There may have been some pagan religious practices, but that was not the focus of Samhain.
So, there is no earlier tradition of a pagan religious celebration at Hallowe'en, and the earliest tradition we have associating this holiday with the dead was a Christian one.
There's a similar problem with the idea that the Church appropriated the date of Christmas from an earlier pagan celebration of Sol Invictus or a solstice celebration - the main celebration of Sol Invictus was in the summer, and the only record we have of a minor day to honor him was well into the Christian era, and after Christmas was being celebrated on 12/25 by Christians - most likely, an attempt by the Emperor to borrow Christian traditions.
The early Church thought that pagans were not simply wrong, they were actually worshipping demons who masqueraded as gods (such as Moloch), so they would have regarded celebrating a pagan holiday under a Christian guise as repugnant. The Roman pagans liked to have a lot of holidays, so it would be hard to pick any date that did not coincide with some holiday for one of the many pagan traditional holidays.