1st November is in reality All Saints Day. But in the Philippines, there is a misconception that it is also the day for our departed loved-ones. While the Gregorian calendar – that we follow -, indicates 2nd November is actually All Souls Day, the day to remember our deceased loved-ones. But it has been a tradition in almost all the devout Catholic countries like the Philippines, to celebrate the “day of the dead” on 1st November. It no longer matter what the calendar says. What matters most is for us to remember our defunct loved-ones.
If you come to think deeply about it, how lucky are those who have already gone to the “other side”. They’re already “rested”, away from the restless mortal world, far off from the sufferings, the grief and the difficulties that every living being remain to confront with in this world. But us, the “living”, should be happy to remain “alive” despite the difficulties we face in life because there is so much to do and there is so much to be gratified for in our existence. Our existence is a journey that we have to take and we are headed somewhere which is undoubtedly beyond what our thoughts could ever fathom.
This author believe that it is just timely to write something about life, now that we are celebrating All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day. In any case, these days’ celebration could either mean to me, “what life had been” and “what life will there be”.
Back in the Philippines, the celebration of All Saint’s Day is one of the most important event the Filipinos await during the year. It is a day to feast, to party, specially the halloween. It is the day to remember our lost family member, our lost friend. We cannot though lay aside the Nativity – the birth of Jesus Christ – which is the most longed-for date by all without exception – Christians or even by those believers of other religion.
All Saints Icon
But what is All Saints Day about? I’ve done a research and here is what I found:
“Initially the calendars of saints and martyrs varied from location to location, and many times local churches honoured local saints. However, gradually feast days became more universal. The first reference to a general feast celebrating all saints occurred in St. Ephrem the Syrian (d. AD 373). St. John Chrysostom (d. AD 407) assigned a day to the feast, the first Sunday after Pentecost, where in the Eastern Churches the feast is celebrated to this day. In the West, this date was probably originally used, and then the feast was moved to May 13th. The current observance (November 1) probably originates from the time of Pope Gregory III (d. AD 741), and was likely first observed on November 1st in Germany. This fact makes the connection of the All Saints Feast with the pagan festival Samhain less likely, since Samhain was an Irish pagan feast, rather than German.
The vigil of the Feast (the eve) has grown up in the English speaking countries as a festival in itself, All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. While many consider Halloween pagan (and in many instances the celebrations are for many), as far as the Church is concerned the date is simply the eve of the feast of All Saints. Many customs of Halloween reflect the Christian belief that on the feast’s vigils we mock evil, because as Christians, it has no real power over us. However, for some Halloween is used for evil purposes, in which many Christians dabble unknowingly. David Morrison explains the proper relationship between Christians and Halloween. Various customs have developed related to Halloween. In the Middle Ages, poor people in the community begged for “soul cakes,” and upon receiving these doughnuts, they would agree to pray for departed souls. This is the root of our modern day “trick-or-treat.” The custom of masks and costumes developed to mock evil and perhaps confuse the evil spirits by dressing as one of their own. Some Christians visit cemeteries on Halloween, not to practice evil, but to commemorate departed relatives and friends, with picnics and the last flowers of the year. The day after All Saints day is called All Soul’s Day, a day to remember and offer prayers up on behalf of all of the faithful departed”. Source: http://www.churchyear.net
There you have it ladies and gentlemen, All Saint’s day..
May our departed loved-ones find the light and peace…beyond..
Happy Halloween to all…Eric
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