Christmas—The most popular holiday in Western culture, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25. Surprisingly, Christmas shares a number of factors in common with Halloween: Both were regarded in the past as favorable times for FORTUNE-TELLING; both have involved GUISING customs, RHYMING and MUMMING; both involve family gatherings and feasts; both have mixed pagan and Christian influence (Christmas was originally the pagan holiday of Yule, “the birthday of the Unconquered Sun”); and in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries both have been heavily marketed and generated billions of dollars in retail sales. Unlike Christmas, however, which emphasizes and reaffirms traditional values of family and gender, Halloween (in America especially) has become a night in which social norms are often inverted (children have power, cross-dressing is accepted, etc.) In fact, Halloween has even been referred to as “the Irish Christmas.”

Like Halloween, Christmas Eve was also a night favorable to learning about one’s future spouse. In fact certain practices, such as sowing HEMP SEED, could be performed on either Halloween or Christmas Eve.


The Halloween Encyclopedia Second Edition written by Lisa Morton © 2011 Lisa Morton. All rights reserved