Jen at Conversion Diary raises the question, and an interesting discussion follows.
I tagged this post with my “liturgical year” tag because of the All Saint’s Day connection, which probably signals some of my bias. I view it in the same way that I view Mardi Gras, as a feast (of sorts) before a fast. And that can be a wholesome thing – the Coptic Church does it well, from what I’ve heard – or a sinful thing (as any American knows from Mardi Gras).
In my mind, I guess that makes it pretty much the same as any party. The passion of festivities can be inflamed by the Holy Spirit or by the burning desires of the flesh (perhaps it can also be motivated by neutral reasons: a birthday party isn’t a religious celebration, but it’s obviously not sinful). A party can be a place where you celebrate and enjoy God’s goodness and Christian fellowship, or it can be a place where you drink too much and find a partner for premarital sex. The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal seem to do quite well with Catholic Underground, in my opinion, at creating a festival space that’s still holy and wholesome. They start the night off with Eucharistic adoration, and an interesting mix of Latin chant and modern (Protestant-style) praise and worship songs. After that, everyone progresses to a different area to listen to music, peruse Catholic books, eat snacks and chat with one another. The bands are typically Catholic, although not all of them sing specifically Catholic (or even religious) songs.
Still, despite everything that they do well, I wouldn’t be totally shocked to hear that some of the young people who met there then went to the bar, got drunk, and had sex. So I get the Puritan impulse to demonize festivities. It just happens that the Lord of Hosts doesn’t buy into that impulse, as we see from the Old Testament celebrations.
Halloween, though, is a different issue. Here, you’ve got all the usual “parties are dangerous” hesitations coupled with people who definitely celebrate Evil on Halloween. What say you, readers? What’s the appropriate Christian response to Halloween?