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The 1904 book The Worship of the Dead, or the Origin and Nature of Pagan Idolatry and Its Bearing Upon the Early History of Egypt and Babylonia, by John Garnier (London: Chapman & Hall), makes an interesting connection between the holiday Halloween and the Great Flood of Noah’s day. Follow this link to The Worship of the Dead on Google Books.

In Chapter One of his book, pages 3-11, Garnier maintains that the modern-day celebrations for the dead, around November 1, go all the way back to the flood and are meant to memorialize the people who died in the Deluge brought by God on a wicked world.

Garnier prefaces his reasoning by mentioning the ubiquity of flood accounts from traditions around the world:

[T]here is hardly a nation or tribe in the world which does not possess a tradition of the destruction of the human race by a flood; and the details of these traditions are too exactly in accordance with each other to permit the suggestion, which some have made, that they refer to different local floods in each case.

In prefacing his discussion about the connection between the Deluge and various celebrations for the dead around the world, Garnier says that

[T]he mythologies of all the ancient nations are interwoven with the events of the Deluge and are explained by it, thereby proving that they are all based on a common principle, and must have been derived from a common source.

Interestingly, Garnier reports on the work of another researcher who maintains that in antiquity celebrations were held to commemorate  both the commencement of the Deluge and the landing of the ark on the mountains of Ararat:

It is clear from these remarks that one or other of the two great events in the history of the Deluge, namely, the commencement of the waters and the beginning of their subsidence, were observed throughout the ancient world, some nations observing one event and some the other.

It would also appear probable that the observance of this festival was intimately connected with, and perhaps initiated, that worship of the dead which, as we shall see, was the central principle of the ancient idolatry.

Garnier shows how chronology homes in on late-October/early-November as the anniversary of the start of the Flood:

The force of this argument is illustrated by the fact of the observance of a great festival of the dead in commemoration of the event, not only by nations more or less in communication with each other, but by others widely separated, both by the ocean and by centuries of time.

This festival is, moreover, held by all on or about the very day on which, according to the Mosaic account, the Deluge took place, viz., the seventeenth day of the second month — the month nearly corresponding with our November.

Knowing this historical background, it would make sense that the worldwide holiday coinciding with Halloween would be an important sacred day for modern pagans, wiccans, and Satanists. This observance, along with the emphasis on demonic images, ghosts, monsters, and gruesome themes in general might also appeal to the wicked spirits, for whom the beginning of the flood meant the death of their hybrid children, the Nephilim (see Gen. 6:1-4, 13).

ARK — 31 October 2009

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