In English, the Lord's Prayer gives us a gentle reminder of the Catholic origins of Halloween.
The modern celebration of Halloween can often obscure the Catholic origins of the holiday. Some even claim that Halloween is a pagan holiday, connecting it to various pagan celebrations that took place around October 31.
However, all we need to do is recite the Lord’s Prayer in English to remind ourselves of Halloween’s Catholic origins.
In the prayer we say, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.”
The old English word hallow means “holy.” It is the same as the word “saint,” which comes from the Latin sanctus.
When we see the word “Halloween,” we can now see the instant connection. The word “Halloween” is a Scottish shortening of the phrase “Allhallow-even,” literally meaning “All Holy Evening” and dates to the 18th century. The English have a similar phrase, “All Hallows’ Eve,” with the same meaning. Both words denote the night before All Saints Day, November 1, and refer to the celebration of the holy men and women who are recognized in the Catholic Church as residing in Heaven.
While we no longer use “hallow” frequently in our modern English vocabulary, reserving it for phrases like “hallowed ground,” the Church still holds on to that word in the Lord’s Prayer, reminding us that Halloween originally referred to a “holy” evening.