Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Dia de los Muertos..Halloween, All Saints and All Souls day.

Dia de los Muertos..Halloween, All Saints and All Souls day.
Everyone knows the secular holiday of Halloween, which happens this year on Monday night, Oct. 31. Americans dress up in costumes, decorate their homes and welcome trick-or-treaters to their doors by handing out candy.
Not everybody knows Halloween derives from a holy day, All Saints' Day on Nov. 1, which is followed by All Souls' day on Nov. 2.

Halloween: Eve of All Hallows
The root word of Halloween is ''hallow,'' which means ''holy.''
The suffix "een" is an abbreviation of "evening." Halloween refers to the Eve of All Hallows, the night before All Saints' Day, the Christian holy day that honors saintly people of the past.

All Souls' Day is a day to pray for all souls. Among Catholics, prayers are offered for those in purgatory, waiting to get into heaven. On All Souls' Day, Catholic churches have a Book of the Dead, in which parishioners have an opportunity to write the names of relatives to be remembered.
Most churches will observe All Saints' Day on Sunday. Churches often read the names of those who have died in the last year.
More than a thousand years ago in Ireland and Britain, a common custom of Christians was to come together on the eve of the feast of All Hallows Day to ask for God's blessing and protection from evil in the world. Often, they would dress in costumes of saints or evil spirits and act out the battle between good and evil around bonfires. That's the source of the modern observance of Halloween.
Building on rituals
All Saints' Day emanates from early Christian celebrations of martyrs in the Eastern Church, dating to the fourth century. The church observance was in turn built upon pagan customs of honoring the dead.
The Christian concept of the importance of the individual soul underlies All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, which are observed worldwide primarily in the Catholic and Anglican traditions. 
In Europe, Samhain was a Gaelic festival of the dead marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of the darkest time of year, a time when the spirit was more closely aligned to the physical world.
In the Americas, church ritual mixed with native celebration of ancestors. Mayans, Incans and other Native Americans had great reverence for the dead and ancestor worship was culturally important. That tradition blended into the Catholic holy days of the dead.
The ''Dia de los Muertos,'' or ''day of the dead,'' in Latin countries keeps alive some of the tradition of honoring souls of the dead.
Dia de los Muertos
In many countries, Nov. 2 is a national holiday – the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, the climax of the Days of the Dead. It's the climax of three days of celebration: All Hallow's Eve, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. People often dress as skeletons as a way of remembering the dead and celebrating their ancestors.
A holy feast day
In the Catholic Church, Nov. 1 is normally a holy day of obligation, when all Catholics are expected to attend Mass.
In Catholic churches this coming Wednesday, Nov. 2, for All Souls' Day, one of the readings during the Mass is from the Book of Wisdom, which is biblical for Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, but not for Protestants, who don't include it in their Bible:

"The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them," the Book of Wisdom says. "They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace."

No comments:

Post a comment