Our Discussions

1 (a madar)

Ba Salam

Does anyone know about how Holloween has started? and I like to get other mothers opinions that how much do we need to put effort on celeberating this day?

Have a great day.

2 (a father)


Way back when, in Ireland, in the Celtic countries, the Druids (or High Priests) in order to maintain power, would have a celebration at the end of harvest, everyone was expected was to put out their hearth fire, and come to the night festival. The Druids (who knew how to make a fire) would dress up in different costumes and animal skins and they would dance around a big fire (Not unlike the symbloism of Nou Rouz) that was used to heat the bones of dead animals, so a "bonefire" is really a "Bone-Fire". after the celebration was over, and the fire burned down to the coals, those people who were deemed "good" were rewarded by the Druids with hot coals to take home to thear hearth. They had to carry them home in somethine, so they used to carve out gords and pumpkins as a carrier. The carvings would allow air to circulate and keep the coals active.

Later "Trick or Treating came about, and that is another story.

As the years whent bye, the costums became more involved, the carved pumpkins became more involved and now we have the curent celebrations that the Christians have made into "All Souls Day".

This was another method that they sublematet the pagon religions and cerelmonies with theirs.

3 (a madar)

Halloween started with the Zoroastrians! Think of Chahar Shanbeh Souri. After jumping the fires, some people still go out and do the ghashokh zani -- beating of the spoon, where they go to people houses dressed in chador (men or women) and beat the spoon on a bowl in order to get treats. The Zoroastrians believed this was a night when the spirits came to earth and the people would give them treats. Obviously, this is just a quick way of explaining it; there are books that describe it better, but I can't remember the names right now. Of course, Westerners think Halloween started in England.

4 ( a mother )

I'm an American madar - grew up both in California and East Coast. I have to say that as a kid Halloween was probably my most favorite holiday. It was, as I saw it, the best opportunity all year to get free candy - and as much as I could carry!! What a deal! (I have to admit that that part still appeals to me.) I never knew or paid attention to the pagen history nor did my family ever talk about it (both parents were in the ministry). Anyways, it was always a fun time of year - pumpkins, fall, kid parties, and of course CANDY!

From the time that my son was very little - I started buying halloween decorations - some of them gory and grotesque for great halloween parties and haunted houses. It seemed like great fun - all innocent. When my son got to be 6 I noticed that he was REALLY paying attention to the vampire and dark stuff and I didn't care for it. I dropped doing any decorations that year except for a carved pumpkin. I also gave my (expensive) decorations to a friend's catering business. Now my son is 8 and is upset that I gave away all of that "good stuff" - but I'm happy with my decision to temper the enthusiasm. We do trick/treating for sure and carve pumkins - but I no longer have the headless horseman on my front lawn, nor the half dead rat that wiggles when you come near, and the plastic head (great realistic features) with an ax splitting its brains by my front door; don't forget the ketchup in strategic spots too; the beating heart that glowed with rythym and of course the skeleton heads and tomb stones scattered about.

And my husband says that I go way overboard sometimes - I just don't get where he comes up with that idea.

- a madar

PS - I don't pass out candy anymore but rather get inexpensive plastic party bags and fill with stickers and other cheap stuff that inspire creativity rather than cavities. Kids love it and the cost isn't any more than a bag of candy (unless you're really cheap and just give out tootsie rolls). Have fun.

5 ( madar # 1)


I just want to thank those who replied to my email. I have made some research on this subject too. I still would like to have parents opinion about this pagan holiday. I am eclosing some of the URL I have found about Holloween and thought might be interesting.

Thanks again





6 ( a mother)


I grew up in a small conservative Christian community in the mid-west. Halloween was not pagan holiday for us, it was a fun holiday. I want my children to enjoy Halloween in the same respect. My children (ages 5 and 3) will be Minnie Mouse and Blue (of Blues' Clues fame). . . hardly pagan idols. When I was a kid, tricks and vandalism we're unacceptable, and we had the spirtitual guidance to shrug off the pagan aspects of the day.

I believe that my role as a parent is to teach my children to have the good judgement and common sense to make wise decisions in their life. We guide them into adulthood by allowing them to have opportunities to practice the skills we have taught them. . . be it Halloween, selecting friends, accepting responsibility for their actions, or making decisions about sex (as they get older!!)

. . . a madar

7 ( a madar)

sorry it is a long message, I think I am getting excited about Holloween, too ;))

-about holloween origins:

This discussion and the web sites madar # 5 mentioned let me learn about interesting similarities in different cultures. I remember that we also had a "Day of the Dead" which we called "CherAgh barAt" (cherAgh means lamp, and I'm not sure what barAt means.) I remember my mom would make Halva to donate to the poor at our relatives graves. It was a day where presumably the dead came to visit the earth and would be happy to see that we remember them and decorate their graves and donate food for them (donation was called "kheyrAt"). I remember my aunts often had dreams about dead relatives asking for food donations at their graves on that special day. (but I must mention that our dead people were nice! more like the Mexican Day of the Dead, and nothing like Holloween.)

-about how much effort we put into holloween:

I like holloween because for children it is a great celebration! they enjoy knocking at people's door and being received with a smile and be given goodies! they also enjoy giving out candies at the door to other children.

My children have two days a year to have UNLIMITED amount of candy: Holloween and their birthday. my son had too much candy one year that he threw up, but I still allow them eat as much as they want because it does help them keep the limits on other days.

about custom: my daughter so far has been a Persian princess which only required some of my make up and one of her nice dresses. It is a great occasion for her to brag about her culture and her Persian beauty with connected eyebrows. carving the pumpkin has turned into a good practice for my husband to patiently join children activities;)) in short, we don't put any serious effort into it, but we get the most fun out of if.

p.s. I liked the idea of giving out stickers instead of candies, and will try it next year. (we already bought candies for this year:)

8 ( a madar)

salaam mother # 6,

excuse my ignorance, but I don't get what you mean by the above lines. could you please explain? I am not Christian and my children enjoy Holloween, too. so, I am confused about what you say...


9 ( mother # 6 )

If you were to read the wed-sites that were referenced in Maryam's e-mail, many of them were filled with conservative Christians comments about Halloween as a pagan ritual and the devil worship associated with it. A conservative Christian community in the mid-west is just that. There were 1200 people in my hometown. None of them were black, Jewish, or Hispanic. Yet, in this conservative Christian environment, we celebrated Halloween and did so without vandalism, arson, and the devil worship which many people attribute to Halloween; especially the people in the web-sites referenced previously. I guess I understood much of this discussion to be, should we allow our children to participate in Halloween given the history of the "holiday".

Sorry about the confusion.

10 ( a pedar )


I think (but not very sure) that barat means sahm or ghesmat(share in English). When somebody recieves something inexpectedly, we tell that barat shode bood.

I hope that our non-iranian friends succeed to read this.

11 ( a mother )

Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, the Celts, inhabitants of Britain and Ireland, observed a festival on October 31.

Unlike modern-day Halloween, theirs was no children's holiday.

The Celts and their priests, the Druids, celebrated Samhain, a festival that marked the eve of the Celtic New Year, which began on November 1.

The fall harvest was complete and winter loomed ahead. The Celts believed the power of the sun was fading. For the next several months, darkness would prevail.

The Celts believed that during Samhain the veil separating the living from the dead was at its thinnest. They believed that on the evening of October 31, evil spirits and the souls of the dead passed through the barrier and entered the world of the living. Departed family members would revisit their earthly homes.

The thought was frightening -- and exciting!

The Celts believed these spirits and dead souls could torment the living. Crops might be destroyed, babies stolen, farm animals killed. But this was also an opportunity to commune with the spirits -- and divine the future. The Devil, the lord of darkness, was ordinarily feared, but during Samhain, his power would be called on to foretell the future.

Trick or Treat

The Druids were charged with appeasing the goblins and preventing harm to the people. Huge Samhain bonfires were lit to guide the way of the spirits. Various sacrifices -- including human -- were performed to assure a good year. Several ancient authors commented on the gory religious rites of the Druids.

It is believed that, like many pagan cultures around the world, the Celts left out food for the spirits, hoping that a "treat" would prevent an evil "trick."

Centuries later, descendants of the Celts continued to observe the Samhain festival by dressing as evil spirits. They roamed from house to house demanding food in exchange for the "spirits" leaving the home unharmed.They carved demon faces in hollowed-out turnips and lighted them with candles.

That night they also practiced many customs designed to divine the future. Young people roasted nuts in Samhain fires to see which would crack first -- and tell them who they would marry. The person who retrieved an apple with his mouth from a tub of water assured himself of a lucky year. Obviously some of these customs (like "apple-bobbing") have remained with us, strictly as amusement.

All Hallow's Eve

When Christianity began to spread through Europe in the third and fourth centuries, the pagan temples were torn down. But pagan worship never the completely disappeared. The festival of Samhain remained a primary pagan festival.

Belief in spirits may have waned, but many of the old Samhain traditions continued to be practiced -- especially by the children. Primarily in I reland, children dressed as spirits went from house to house demanding a treat. If they received none, they performed an unwelcomed trick. They were play-acting the part of evil spirits that had to be appeased, just as in the old Samhain festival the people believe they really did have to appease spirits.

In the 700s AD the Church decided to combat this festival by replacing it with a celebration of the Lord of life. Instead of honoring evil spirits and the souls of the dead, the church chose to recognize the saints -- or hallowed ones -- who had lived godly lives. The Church seemed to be saying, "All right, if you must have a day to celebrate the dead, then celebrate those who died and are now with the Lord."

So November 1 came to be called All Saints' Day, also called All Hallows' Day. The evening before was called All Hallows' Evening. From that we get the modern name of Halloween.

But pagan customs continued. And with the growth of witchcraft in the Middle Ages, additional symbols became associated with Halloween -- black cats, witches, bats, and skulls.

Halloween in America

Irish immigrants in the mid-1800s brought to America the Halloween customs we're familiar with -- costumes, trick-or-treat, carved Jack-o-lanterns, etc. (The Jack-o-lantern is simply an American version of the hollowed-out turnip, mentioned earlier. The pumpkin did not grow in Ireland and Britain.) Unfortunately, they also brought "tricks" with them --which often involved breaking windows and over-turning sheds and outhouses. Even though the practice of actually performing a trick if no treat is given has faded, the custom of children going "trick-or-treating" has become an established American tradition.

12 ( a madar )

Salam, I looked up the Amid Dictionary and the meaning of the Barat is:

-A written paper that allows transaction of money to or from others.

And for Shab-e-Barat: it is the 15th of Shaaban and it is also called Shab-e-Check.

Does any body know the history of the Shab-e-Shaaban? when it has started and where it originated?

Thanks and hope you all had great Holloween last night.

13 ( a web visitor )

I would like to know if holloween was started by santian

ps write back

14 ( a madar )

I like to know the origin of halloween. Also I know some Christians don't celebrate halloween. Do you know why?

15 ( a madar)

The name Halloween is actually a contraction of "All Hallow's Eve". Hallowed means sacred, or holy, and refers to the Christian saints. November 1st (the day after Halloween) is All Saints (Hallows) Day. Therefore, Halloween is the eve (night before) of All Hallows Day.

However, the celebration originated with the pagan inhabitants of the British Isles (Ireland, England) According to their accient, pagan Druid religion, Nivember 1 was the beginning of the new year, and was called Samhain (pronounced Sow-in). It was believed that, on the night before the new year, spirits from the "other world" could visit the earth and mix with humans. In order to persude the locals to convert to the New religion, Christian missionaries incorporated many local traditions and celebration in order to make Christianity more familiar and palatable.

Therefore, there is this combination of Christian (All Saints Day eve) and pagan (spirits from the underworld) beliefs. Some contemporary Christians, especially from "Fundamentalist" sects, object to the pagan aspects of the holiday, and refuse to let their children participate.

However, many cultures have a holiday on which children can dress is consumes and receive some sort of present - e.g., Fasching in Germany, Purim among Jews, Carnivale or Mardi Gras in other countries. Whatever the reason, it is fun for people everywhere to have a day to have fun and celebrate.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

16 ( a teenager)

I've also been doing some research on the Halloween event! First of all, the www.geocities.com site given in the 5th response was written by a person who claims to be a witch and a student of the ancient Celts.

Second, I am a follower of Christ. I believe that as Christians we should not conform to this world as it says in Romans 12. And that we should only think and do things that are pure holy and right as mentioned in second Peter. It's important to consider "what would Jesus do". It is very clear that there are two places afterlife. Heaven and Hell. Why would we want to deal with the spirits and the "God's of the dead" which are clearly satanic? Why would we participate with Satan? Christians have to deal with him enough don't we?

Always forgiven with Christ's love

Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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