Bolivian Day of the Dead display

The Bible Book of Genesis – Geology, Archaeology, and Theology – Part 18

This entry is part 18 of 21 in the series The Bible Book of Genesis - Geology, Archaeology and Theology

Genesis 7 & 8: The Cataclysmic Deluge Account

Other Evidence of the Veracity of the Genesis Flood Account

We will now take a brief look at religious celebrations and traditions that occur around the end of October, and early November around the world. After a short review, we will look at their similarities and investigate the likely origin of all these beliefs and practices.

The author does not support or recommend any of these practices for reasons discussed in the conclusion of this review.


Samhain is a Gaelic\Celtic festival that marks the end of the harvest season (in Northern Europe) and the beginning of winter. The use of apples and pumpkins and other (autumn) fall crops all reflected the end of the harvest season. This was also the Celtic New Year. It is held on the 1st of November every year, but celebrations start on the evening of 31st of October. This is because the Celtic day was sunset to sunset in the same way as the Hebrews and Babylonians, etc. It was widely celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

Similar celebrations were held in Wales, where they are called Calan Gaeaf, and also Kalan Gwav in Cornwall, and Kalan Goanv in Brittany, France, where the Brittanic Celtic peoples were.

Samhain is documented in the earliest Irish literature dating from the 9th Century AD, but the celebration predates the 9th Century by many hundred years. There it is recorded that there were great gatherings, feasts, and the ancient burial mounds were opened, which were viewed as portals to the “Otherworld”. Bonfires and sacrifices were also associated with Samhain. The belief was that the boundary between the “Otherworld” and this world thinned allowing the Aos Si or fairies and spirits to come more easily into our world. These spirits had to be appeased by offerings of food and drink. It was also believed that the souls of dead relatives revisited their homes looking for hospitality, and hence a place was set at the table for them during the Samhain meal. People also dressed in costumes possibly to disguise themselves from the spirits and went house to house reciting verses in exchange for food.

Failure to participate in this celebration was believed to result in punishment from the gods, usually illness or death. The Celts also believed that ancestors could come from the spirit realm at this time and so the Celts dressed as animals and monsters so that fairies were not tempted to kidnap them.

One of the popular Samhain stories told during this period was “The Second Battle of Mag Tuired” which portrays the final conflict between the Celtic pantheon known as Tuatha de Danaan and evil oppressors known as the Fomor.

Nos/Noson Galan Gaeaf and Calan Gaeaf

This is also a Gaelic\Celtic tradition as practiced in Wales. Nos/Noson Galan Gaeaf was the night of the 31st of October and was a night for spirits. Traditionally, people avoided churchyards, stiles, and crossroads, as it was believed that spirits gathered there. People also danced around a bonfire.

Kalan Gwav or Allantide

This was \ is the Cornish version of the Gaelic\Celtic tradition for the first day of winter and became the Christian feast day of Saint Allan, the bishop of Quimper in the 6th century. Allan apples, large glossy red apples highly polished were given to family and friends as tokens of good luck at this time.

Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Eve

This allegedly Christian celebration from throughout Western Europe takes place on the evening of 31st October in many countries. The customs practiced today often incorporate many of the traditions from Samhain and other ancient Day of the Dead celebrations.

All Saints Day

This is on the 1st of November and is celebrated by many Christian religions, such as Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, and Methodist churches. The feast celebrating Christian martyrs was held from the 4th century, often near Easter or Pentecost. The celebration can be traced to the 8th Century and Pope Gregory III (731-741). He built a special chapel in Rome for the memory of all the saints and dedicated it to their memory on November 1st. During the 9th century some churches in the British Isles (including Ireland), began commemorating the saints on the 1st of November, and later during the 9th century, it was extended to the whole Catholic Church by Pope Gregory IV.

In the Catholic tradition, it celebrates all those who have passed on to the Kingdom of Heaven, while in the Methodist tradition, the day is about giving God gratitude for the lives and deaths of the Saints.

In the Philippines, All Saints Day and All Souls Day are combined and they traditionally visit the family dead to clean and repair their tombs. They offer prayers, flowers, candles, and food.

All Souls Day

This takes place on 2nd November and is known as the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed. It is a day of prayer and remembrance for the faithful dead, and is celebrated throughout Western Christianity. Its equivalent is the Saturday of Souls in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The traditions often involve remembering deceased friends and relatives. Prayers and intercessions may be offered, or alms (gifts of food and money to the poor), and visits to the cemeteries.

Dia de los Muertos [Day of the Dead] – Mexico

This is celebrated from the 31st of October through to the 2nd of November. Its main place of celebration originated in central and southern Mexico where it is best known. It long predates the arrival of Roman Catholicism with the Spanish conquistadores from AD 1492 onwards. The dead are honored with flowers, particularly the Mexican marigold. There are also offerings of the favorite foods and beverages of the departed relatives on a home altar and visiting their graves with gifts. The flowers are believed to attract souls of the dead to the offerings, with the strong scent guiding the souls from the cemeteries to their family homes.

A large part of the bulk migration of monarch butterflies from North America to overwintering in forests in Mexico often arrives over these few days. For many celebrants, these butterflies are the souls arriving, especially as they are attracted to the marigolds placed in the homes and at the graves. In some places, they sleep beside the graves overnight at this time. Sugar skulls are made and given as gifts to both living and dead.

The belief is that at midnight on the 31st of October, the souls of deceased children come down from heaven and are reunited with their families on the 1st of November.

Dia de los Muertos [Day of the Dead] – Bolivia

In Bolivia, the Day of the Dead occurs on the 1st of November and includes some traditions from the Inca or pre-Incas with such things as a moon, a sun, and a ladder (to access heaven) made of bread. As with other countries, candles, polished apples, and small cakes and breads, etc are offered to pictures (or in some cases the skulls) of their dead relatives. The following picture shows a typical altar\family shrine as created at this time of year.

Bolivian Day of the Dead

Similar practices occur in Belize, known as Hanal Pixan [meaning: food for the souls] among the Yucatec Maya.

Dia de Los Muertos [Day of the Dead] – Other Countries in the Americas

The day of the dead is also celebrated on the 2nd of November in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru. In Guatemala, it takes place on November 1st and features the construction and flying of giant kites believed to help the spirits find their way back to Earth. Sometimes messages are tied to the strings to take a message to the spirits in heaven.

Kartika Purnima – Diwali

This is a Hindu, Sikh, and Jain festival. Often called Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus. Depending on the corresponding date on the Hindu calendar it falls sometime between mid-October and Mid-November. This year (2021) it is November 4th, next year October 24th, then November 12th, and then November 1 in 2024. Before the festivities begin, houses are cleaned, and fresh flowers are placed around the home. Prayers are said. Families and friends visit each other and partake of various sweets. Little boats are put in rivers with lighted candles, fireworks are set off, and bottles of beer are placed on windowsills and in door entrances.

The day celebrates the killing of the demon Tripurasura and the destruction of the demon cities by the god Shiva. The day is also dedicated to the dead ancestors and food is offered to the deities in the temples. Hindus may also place 360 wicks or candles in temples, one for each day of the Hindu calendar (of 360 days) in an effort to escape going to hell after death.

Significance of these Celebrations

All of these celebrations in one or another have clear connections to the memorialization of the dead. In addition, Diwali has possible allusions to the deluge of Noah’s day with the launching of little boats in the rivers. However, more dangerously these celebrations also include the belief in souls or spirits of dead loved ones being able to affect living and hence incorporate various customs which attempt in some way to communicate with the spirit world.

The belief that the souls continue to live on after death reminds us of the claim made by the serpent when tempting Eve. In Genesis 3:4 the serpent assured Eve “You positively will not die”. This was in direct contradiction to God’s warning not to touch the fruit of the tree that was in the middle of the garden “… that you do not die.” (Genesis 3:3). Yes, God warned that Adam and Eve would die, the opposite of the life they enjoyed. It would not make sense that if they would die, God would yet allow them to continue on living in some invisible form as souls or spirits. Even less so that God would allow them to harm the living if not appeased.

If these practices do not come from God, then where do they come from? Is it not reasonable to conclude that these practices and beliefs about souls and spirits must come from the one who lied to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?

We also need to take into account the instructions God gave to the nation of Israel. In Deuteronomy 18:10-12 he instructed the Israelites that “there should not be found in you [the nation of Israel] anyone who … consults a spirit medium … or anyone who inquires of the dead. For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah, …”.

1 Samuel 28 records how King Saul was cut off from Jehovah’s favor for amongst other things, consulting a spirit medium in En-dor and trying to speak to the dead Samuel.

It is very interesting to note that concerning the events of the flood, 2 Peter 2:4 reminds us that “God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, but, by throwing them into Tartarus delivered them to pits of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment”. Therefore, we can surmise that the sons of God or angels who came to earth before the flood and had relations with the daughters of men (see Genesis 6:4), must have dematerialized back to the heavenly realm where they were then reserved for judgment and their previous freedoms curtailed. One of these previous freedoms was likely the ability to materialize, which they misused to be with the daughters of men. The Nephilim, the hybrid offspring of the wicked angels and the daughters of men, however, would have been unable to avoid being destroyed by the deluge, along with the rest of wicked mankind.

Having misled Eve and the vast majority of pre-flood mankind, would not these wicked angels want to mislead mankind again?

What better way could this be accomplished than to encourage mankind to memorialize this event?

  • By remembering those who have died, including trying to appease them and giving them gifts.
  • By suggesting that their loved ones have souls that continue living after their death.
  • By suggesting that spirits can travel between the spirit realm and the earthly realm and vice-versa.
  • By remembering the very day on which the wicked angels (spirits) dematerialized and their hybrid offspring died.

The first three items of this shortlist can clearly be seen in the various traditions practiced during the celebrations of 31st October to 2nd November that we have reviewed above.

But what about the last item on the list? Remembering the day the hybrid offspring and the rest of wicked mankind died [when the flood started].

Why do these celebrations take place from 31st October to 2nd November?

To ascertain this we need to ask the following question:

When did the year start for the Hebrews before the Exodus from Egypt occurred?

On the occasion of the Exodus from Egypt, God commanded Moses that the start of the year be changed to Nisan (March\April) in our modern calendar. This is recorded in Exodus 12:2 which says “This month will be the start of the months for you. It will be the first of the months of the year for you.”. It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude that the start of the year that the Israelites observed must have been different previously. Why so? Because the emphasis was on it changing from then on, as in the phrase “It will be …”.

What was the month of the start of the year for the Israelites previously?

Exodus 23:16 gives a clue when it states, “the festival of ingathering at the outgoing of the year”. The festival of ingathering at the outgoing of the year was at the end of the harvest which was at the beginning of Tishri or mid-September in the modern calendar.

Using this information, we can then answer the following question:

When did the flood begin?

Genesis 7:11 reminds us that “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on this day all the springs of the vast watery deep were broken open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.”.

The first month of the year for the Israelites in pre-Exodus times was Mid-September to Mid-October in our modern calendar, at the end of the harvest. The second month would therefore be mid-October to mid-November and the 17th day of the second month the modern equivalent of being around 31st October to 2nd November.

Surely, this cannot be a coincidence! Is this not additional strong circumstantial evidence that the Flood of Noah’s day did occur exactly as the Bible record tells us?

Chinese Language and History

Please see this four-part series and examine for yourself how the Chinese language gives evidence of the accounts in Genesis, particularly Genesis Chapters 1-11.[i]

The Geological Implications of a Cataclysmic Deluge – A Summary – Genesis 7 & 8

What about the geological implications of such a cataclysmic deluge on the earth? The Bible does not specifically deal with this subject. However, in previous articles, we have dealt with many individual geological events and how the cataclysmic deluge can explain them.

There are a number of questions some may have related to the deluge and its aftermath regarding Ice Ages, Deep Frozen Mammoths, Dating Methods in detail, Effects of the Flood on the Earth’s Climate, and more, however, they are outside the parameters of this series as there are no directly mentioned details or comments on these subjects in the Bible. If you are interested in serious explanations as to how these events can have a scientific explanation that would agree with the occurrence of a worldwide deluge then you will find the following books in the section Further Reading to be of great interest and use.

Further Reading

Very highly recommended:

  • Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Geology, Creation and the Flood, Parts 1 and 2 by Andrew A. Snelling.
    • Book 1 discusses the Biblical Record of the Global Flood, Non-geological arguments used against a Global flood, the animals, before, during, and after the Flood, the background for Biblical geology, current understanding of the Geological process in a Flood context.
    • Book 2 discusses fossilization, fossil graveyards, radioactive dating, deposition methods, and geochronology.
  • Frozen in Time by Michael Oard (Mammoths and the Ice Age)
    • This discusses a very persuasive scientific solution for the rapid freezing of the Mammoths and and a post Flood Ice Age, with a very scientific explanation for the immediate post-flood climate which caused these events.
  • The Ancient 360 Day Year, What it was and How it Changed by Dale W Wong.
    • This discusses astronomical time, calendars, orbital laws, ancient references, appendices of mathematical calculations for eclipses, etc.
  • Dragons or Dinosaurs? Creation or Evolution? By Darek Isaacs
    • This discusses dragons and evidence for them being dinosaurs.
  • The Calendar by David Ewing Duncan
    • A fascinating discussion of the 5,000-year history of the struggle to align the Clock and the Heavens.
  • The Genesis Flood (50th Anniversary Edition) by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris
    • The original ground-breaking explanation that correlated the Biblical Record of the Genesis Flood and its scientific implications with scientific observations and understandings. Please bear in mind that some of the conclusions have been updated in the years since its first publication. Earth’s Catastrophic Past, Geology, Creation, and the Flood – Parts 1 & 2 contain the most up-to-date position.


Series Navigation<< The Bible Book of Genesis – Geology, Archaeology, and Theology – Part 17Noah’s Flood – Distribution Map of Flood Legends >>
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