From verse 18 of Exodus 34, the Lord commands the Israelites to keep His ordained LEGITIMATE festivals.
This is as opposed to similar but ILLEGITIMATE festivals as practiced by the Canaanites and other gentile nations.
The truth be told, the pagan world did have comparable holidays to the 7 Biblical Feasts that were on the schedule of the Lord’s appointed times.
Both the 7 Biblical Feasts and comparable holidays in the heathen world were agriculturally based festivals that were timed to take place in accordance with the various seasons and stages of planting, growing, and harvesting.
However, in spite of the similarities between the pagan holidays and the Biblical festivals, the Lord makes it clear that His Festivals are NEVER to be performed in the manner of the pagans.
It was equally an abomination to add in some elements from those pagan holidays and tradition to the pure form of worship the Lord had authorized.
Again, there is to be a clear line of separation between how the Lord’s people are to do things and the world is to do things.
Let’s take a look at a good example of a God-ordained holiday in comparison with a pagan holiday.
I’m talking about SUKKOT (Feast of Tabernacles) versus Halloween.
Both are seasonal fall festivals that occur at the end of the yearly agricultural cycle.
SUKKOT derives from SUKKAH, or “booths” in Hebrew, and is a celebration commemorating the temporary shelters the Hebrews lived in for 40 years while they crossed the Sinai desert after leaving Egypt.
Of course, the other significance of SUKKOT is that it marks the end of the harvest time and thus of the agricultural year in Israel.
Hence, it is also called the “Feast of Ingathering” in reference to the final cuttings and storing of produce before winter arrives and everything goes dormant.
Now Halloween’s origins go back to the ancient Celtic festival known as SAMHAIN.
The Celts, who lived about 2000 years ago in the region that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France celebrated their new year on November 1st (again this was for agricultural reasons).
The Celts believed that on the night before the new year, October 31st, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.
So on this night, they celebrated SAMHAIN, because they believed this was when the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
When the Catholic church came to Britain, they figured the best way to convert people was to incorporate their practices instead of banning them (a Scriptural no-no!).
It just so happened that November 1st was the “Christian Feast of All Saints“.
So Pope Gregory III decided to establish the evening before, October 31st, from the Festival of Samhain into the “Eve of All Saints”, or “All Hallows’ Eve”.
The word Halloween is just a shortened version of “evening before All Hallows’ Day“.
The same group (the catholic church) who with no Scriptural warrant whatsoever changed the Lord’s Sabbath from a Saturday to Sunday is the same group that established Halloween as some holy day.
Now the question I have is why in the world would anybody who claims the Lord as his or her God choose to celebrate a patently pagan festival over the Lord’s ordained holiday Sukkot?
I once heard of a woman Sunday school teacher who on Halloween would dress in a full witches costume, sit on a bale of straw and then teach from her Bible to the children!
It’s the same old violation of mixing the profane with the Holy.
Now do you know what’s unique about SUKKOT?
It’s the one Biblical holiday that the Scriptures say all nations are going to observe.
“Finally, everyone remaining from all the nations that came to attack Jerusalem will go up every year to worship the king, Adonai-Tzva’ot, and to keep the festival of Sukkot.”-Zechariah 14:16
Again, I find it amazing that any believer (whether gentile or Jew) would choose Halloween over Sukkot, especially when the Scriptures clearly state all the nations are going to observe Sukkot.
I mean did not the Lord establish a true Fall Festival?
Didn’t He say to keep His festivals and avoid those of the pagans?
Of course He did!
And the fall seasonal festival He established is called Sukkot.