Is Halloween Pagan – Part 2 of 2 [History for Atheists]

The idea that all the traditional holidays and festivals of the year are “pagan” in origin and were simply “stolen by the Church” is one that has permeated popular culture and is repeated without question in newspaper, magazine and online articles. It is perhaps not surprising that harried journalists and underpaid online content writers are uncritical about these claims, but it is more strange that prominent atheists are as well, given they are meant to be sceptics who check their facts and “question everything”. Unfortunately, many anti-theistic polemicists cannot resist a chance to get in a jab at any aspect of Christianity being “really pagan”, so every October we see supposed rationalists parroting pseudo history about the “pagan origins of Halloween”, with no sign of any fact-checking, let alone engagement with scholarship. In fact, the claim that Halloween is “pagan” is largely a nineteenth century myth.

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