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Church of Satan FAQ
A. What holidays do Satanists celebrate?
Since Satanism is a self-centered religion, the highest holiday of the year would be the Satanist’s own birthday, which needs no ritual but should be spent in doing things a Satanist would enjoy. There is no requirement that a Satanist celebrate any holidays, and there are no hard and fast traditions or rites associated with them. Since Satanism embraces Nature, the other holidays a Satanist might choose to celebrate would be the seasonal turning points marked by the equinoxes and solstices—the dates of which vary from year to year, as well as the mid points between these which can be recognized as the climaxes of each season. In particular, April 30th, called Walpurgisnacht, is the Spring climax and the anniversary of the founding of the Church of Satan and is generally noted. Halloween, October 31, is the Fall climax and may be celebrated as a time when one's inner-self might be explored through the use of a costume, or one might recall those of importance in one's life who have died - as was done on that night in European tradition.
B. What about the Christmas holiday?
The Christians stole this holiday from the pagans—Santa Claus has come to signify indulgence, and he is a combination of Dionysos and Silenus from Roman and Greek myths (the Romans celebrated the orgiastic Saturnalia at this time).
The Nazarene has little place in the general public’s celebrations of this season, which were meant by pagans to be celebrations of abundance during a season of cold and emptiness.
So for the Yule holiday season we enjoy the richness of life and the company of people whom we cherish, as we will often be the only ones who know where the traditions really came from!
C. Is Halloween important to Satanists?
We see this holiday as the night when the mundane folk try to reach down inside and touch the “darkness” which for Satanists is a daily mode of existence. Particularly in the United States, Halloween is a time for celebrating monster films, wearing costumes of a macabre nature, and evoking the thrill of “fun fear.” Children (of all ages) can indulge their fantasies by donning costumes that allow for intense role-playing and the release of their “demonic cores,” the parts of their personalities often hidden from their friends, co-workers and families.
Though there are traditions making this an occasion for recalling the dead, it has been popularized as a time to play with what historically were fears directed towards what were thought to be unquiet spirits of the departed. And the grand traditional question “Trick or treat?” has become a means for fulfilling an indulgence in sweets, without the need to resort to the optional coercion.
Satanists embrace what this holiday has become, and do not feel the need to be tied to ancient practices. This night, we smile at the amateur explorers of their own inner darkness, for we know that they enjoy their brief dip into the pool of the “shadow world.” We encourage their tenebrous fantasies, the candied indulgence, and the wide-ranging evocation of our aesthetics (while tolerating some of the chintzy versions), even if it is but once a year. For the rest of the time, when those not of our meta-tribe shake their heads in wonder at us, we can point out that they may find some understanding by examining their own All Hallows Eve doings, but we generally find it simpler to just say: “Think of the Addams Family and you'll begin to see what we're about.”