Holidays are a precious time for people around the globe. A time where everyone comes together to celebrate a specific purpose. But do Pentecostals celebrate holidays? Pentecostals have often had some pretty strange beliefs, it wouldn’t be that surprising if some of those strange beliefs carried over to holidays. But the truth is much simpler:
Do Pentecostals Celebrate Holidays? Yes, Pentecostals usually celebrate all typical holidays (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving). Though there are some exceptions, some Pentecostals choose to refrain from celebrating Halloween, and some groups of Pentecostals choose not to celebrate certain other holidays. The majority of Pentecostals, however, have no issue celebrating holidays.
“But wait, some Pentecostals don’t celebrate holidays? Which holidays? And what is the deal with Halloween?” You may be asking. But don’t worry! I’ve done quite a bit of research on Christian holidays. Let’s start from the top.
Pentecostals Don’t Celebrate Holidays?
I should clarify, some Pentecostals don’t celebrate holidays. Again, the vast majority of Pentecostals have no problem engaging in festive activities. But I have met some Pentecostals who choose to not celebrate holidays. Most of them would probably say something like, “I don’t believe in celebrating (INSERT HOLIDAY) because it’s based on a pagan holiday. Jesus wouldn’t want me celebrating that.”
Which to be fair, is as good a point as any to not celebrate a holiday. If a Christian truly feels like it is immoral for them to do something, I think they are completely justified in not doing it. But this begs the question: are they right about holidays being pagan? And if they are, should we still celebrate them?
For the most part, no. The majority of holidays that Americans celebrate are very much Christian holidays. Christmas for example, is a holiday that many people believe comes from the Roman festival of Saturnalia. People have been claiming for a lot of years that Christians simply adopted this pre-established holiday and turned it into something that resembles our religion. There’s a lot of reasons why this isn’t true, the chief being that Christians celebrated Christmas way before Saturnalia was a thing.
Another holiday that people consistently claim is pagan is Easter. Facebook posts everywhere state clearly that Easter comes from Ishtar who was a Babylonian goddess who represented fertility etc. This one is just demonstrably false. Ishtar is not where we get Easter from. Again, started as a Christian holiday. We’ve been celebrating Easter for a really long time.
Sadly, many Christians still either don’t know this information or still feel a personal conviction not to celebrate these holidays. So we have certain groups and individuals who don’t participate, but this is not a widespread belief of Pentecostal denominations.
So What Holidays Do We Celebrate?
Well, almost all of them.
Most, if not all, Christians I know celebrate Valentine’s day with their spouse or significant other. Even though this isn’t inherently a ‘Christian’ holiday, no one sees any problem with a holiday focused on love, as long as that love is demonstrated in a healthy and Godly manner. The name Valentine’s Day comes from Saint Valentine marrying people in secret.
Easter is arguably the most important holiday to Christians. It is the day we celebrate our risen savior and the day that hope entered the world. While certain denominations may have special services commemorating the risen Christ, most Christians will celebrate Easter normally. Baskets of candy and colored eggs are very commonplace.
The 4th of July is an important holiday for Americans, and again, I don’t know of any Christian who doesn’t celebrate Independence Day. While not inherently spiritual, many believe that reverence for your country is healthy and moral as long as you never elevate it above God. And I believe there is something to be said for the notion of a free country for religion.
Halloween is probably the one rough spot in the year for most American Christians, a large percentage of Christians choose not to celebrate Halloween, believing it to be the devil’s holiday. No denomination outright doesn’t allow it and many Christians in recent years have opened up to the scariest night of the year, but still many refuse to participate. I am going to go into a bit more detail below, but I would argue that it is still okay for Christians to celebrate Halloween.
Thanksgiving is another American holiday that Christians can appreciate and celebrate even if it holds no inherent meaning to their faith. The principle of coming together, being kind to one another, and being thankful for what you have is a very Christian one. And the settler’s faith was incredibly important to them, it’s a very easy adoption for Christians to make.
Finally, Christmas is another very important holiday to Christians. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and reverence for God. Christians may hold special candlelight services or charity dinners for homeless around Christmas time, but the vast majority still celebrate Christmas as usual. Presents, cocoa, and a lit-up tree are typical in the Christian home.
What’s The Deal With Halloween?
Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve is a holiday that many people claim is completely pagan, evil, and satanic. People dress in costumes resembling monsters and play tricks on houses who won’t give them candy. But is it true that Halloween was invented by witches? Well, not really.
In case the name All Hallows’ Eve didn’t give it away, Halloween is the eve of another holiday, Hallowtide. Despite popular narrative, Hallowtide is actually a Christian holiday of remembrance for the dead. It lasts three days in which Christians revere all the saints and those who came before. The problem is that it’s not really celebrated by Pentecostals or Protestants because Protestant churches rarely recognize the saints.
So, we have a strange case where Christians are actually the ones who took Christ out of a holiday.
Most of the roots of current Halloween practices, like dressing up in costumes, can be traced back to the Celtic festival of Samhain. But unlike Christmas and Easter, we’re not really sure which came first in this case. It’s possible that Christians saw Samhain being celebrated and inserted God into it, or it’s possible that Christians had celebrated Hallowtide years before ever learning of Samhain.
Here’s the issue, regardless of the origins of a holiday, if Christians can redeem a pagan practice for Christ, shouldn’t we? Halloween is a holiday celebrated by most children in America, so shouldn’t we participate in it?
Halloween is not forbidden in Christian groups and denominations. Catholics will celebrate and revere Hallowtide as a time of remembrance for the dead. While Protestant churches don’t really do this, there is nothing stopping them from celebrating Halloween.
If I’m Pentecostal, Do I Need to Give Up Holidays?
Definitely not. The only situation in which you should give up holidays are those in which you feel God very clearly nudging you in that specific direction. Holidays can be an important time of reflecting and reverence for the faith. It is useful to participate and bring Jesus into everything we do. Pentecostals love holidays, we love celebrating God. Holidays are great, and most of the holidays we have in America started as, and continue to be, Christian.
If you are interested in learning about other Religions in the world, then check out this book on World’s Religions on Amazon.