Background of October 31st

Background on Oct 31

Many theologians and church historians are aware of the significance of Halloween; but
unfortunately, the average American child celebrates the holiday totally oblivious to its great
importance in God’s dealings with man. October 31st, Halloween—meaning hallowed or
sacred evening—is the day that Noah boarded the ark and the great flood came upon the
earth to destroy the first world. One year and 10 days later, Noah left the ark on Mount
Ararat. All around the world, ancient cultures from China to the South American celebrated
October 31st as both a New Year day and a day to remember the dead. Since the date is so
universally celebrated, these traditions may have originated from the oral traditions passed
down by Noah to his descendants. Since the great flood was such an awesome event, the
ancient peoples memorialized the day even as modern Americans have memorialized D-day,
Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, etc.
The most complete collection of these flood legends from all over the world is contained in
Richard Andree’s German work Die Flutsagen and James Grazer’s Folklore in the Old
Testament. The Bible verifies these ancient flood traditions as being accurate. In Genesis 7:11
the Scriptures state that the flood came on the second month, on the seventeenth day of the
month. The first month in the Biblical Hebrew agricultural calendar is September (Exodus
34:22). Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated in mid-September. The second
month begins on about October 14th, and seventeen days hence is October 31st. Although
the modern Jewish New Year falls on a different day in September every year, the ancient
Hebrew calendar appears to place October 31 as the date of the great flood. According to
Biblical chronology the great flood took place in about 2517 BC. Over the passing years the
origins of the Hallowed Eve have been either forgotten or distorted. Such was the case in the
English people who descended from Noah’s son Japheth and grandson Gomer. The ancient
English Druid priest would celebrate October 31st by pulling down and rebuilding the roof of
their temple as a symbol of the destruction and renovation of the world. To remember the
dead, the people were instructed to place an offering of food on the graves of departed loved
ones. The people could not keep the poor children in the towns from disguising themselves
and stealing the food off the graves. This custom has evolved into the American practice of
Trick or Treat.
October 31st is also associated with the Roman Catholic “All Saints Day.” In the year 607 AD
the Roman Emperor presented to the pope the Roman Pantheon. Originally this building was
dedicated to Jupiter. The pope cleansed it and dedicated it to the service of God on May 13th.
At the dedication the bones of the martyrs from the various cemeteries were paraded through
the city. This yearly celebration became popularized throughout the Western Church and in
835 AD the pope made it an official church holy day and moved it to Nov. 1.