Redbridge priests: Why we associate Hallowe’en with dead people

“It’s a time for remembering the dead” is how a priest from South Woodford described a Christian festival which inspired modern day Hallowe’en.

All Hallows Eve, which falls today is the night before All Saints Day which is traditionally when saints and martyrs throughout history are remembered.

The word hallows in this context meant saint.

Ian Tarrant, from St Mary’s Church, High Road, South Woodford, said: “All Saints day remembers all Christians everywhere and we remember we are all considered saints in God’s eyes and we are all servants of God.”

The day is followed by All Souls’ Day which is a chance for people to remember lost loved ones and usually attracts hundreds of people. A service will be held on Friday at the South Woodford church from 8pm. There will also be a special service on Saturday from 2pm for anyone who has lost someone.


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Jonathan Evens, of St John’s Church, St Johns Road, Seven Kings, said: “It’s very important when people are grieving to be able to remember the people who we have loved and lost and to honour their memory.

“These kinds of moments can be very significant in helping people cope with the experience of grief.”

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A special bereavement service was held at the Seven Kings church on Sunday (28).

“To have a moment when you gather together with other people publicly to remember can be a very significant thing and really help people to move on,” he said. “Not leaving it behind but accepting it and coming to terms with it.”

The increasing association of All Hallows Eve with darker things such as witches and vampires is not something Mr Evens approved of.

He said: “It’s more about Christian respect, and not the dark forces that are celebrated. People have always been interested in the dark side of humans, but we support the light of Christ as an alternative.”

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