Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Celebrating All Saints Day & All Soul's Day

When The Church came to a new culture to teach and convert, the missionaries strove to take native celebrations and convert their meanings and subtly adapt their trappings to Christian themes. They purposely placed Church holidays around the approximate times of important events in the life of Christ, but also to coincide with nonchristian celebrations they wished to replace. And they were almost universally successful in this quest.

The institution of the Feast of All Hallows, or All Saints,was an attempt to replace the Roman feast of the dead, Feralia. But, the customs most commonly associated with the celebration of this holiday in the modern world are Gaelic in nature, a passdown from the druids.

Hat tip to: Are We There Yet for this information. Read the whole post here.

Two important feast days are quickly approaching. I thought I would share a post that I found at Radical Catholic Mom (love that blog!). Her ideas are wonderful. I have added our family traditions in red.

November 1: Feast Day of All Saints. On this day the Church celebrates all of the brilliant and not so brilliant people who loved God so much they chose Him over all else. They loved him so much they became Holy like Him and during their lives their holiness could be seen by others. Think Mother Teresa, Francis, Gianna Molla, Anthony, the Apostles, Mary, etc. This is a Holy Day of Obligation so the first thing we do is make sure we attend Mass during the day or evening. Sadly, we notice less and less people even bother to attend so make sure this is priority number one! In my home, we have saint pictures, statues throughout the house and we always ask their intercession during our morning and evening prayers so in a way we love our Saints throughout the year.

We have Mass at school followed by a parade of Saints. The kids dress as one of their favorite Saints -- or in my son's case -- the one his teacher assigned. Here is that story!! :-)

He was all set to be St. Michael -- ever since last year he has been looking forward to "being St. Michael "! We've read about St. Michael, started putting together the St Michael costume and my little guy was very excited. Alas, the teacher assigned saints. My little guy is St. Benedict. My son is very adaptable and optimistic... he accepted this change with little problem but he told me he was disappointed. He has now spent time learning a lot about two different Saints. This is wonderful in my eyes. He is still St. Michael around the house though.

After school we go to our parish for Mass and another Saint parade. There will be no time to change clothes so mi hijo will represent St Benedict again. We are excited about the timing this year -- being able to celebrate at school and at our parish.

November 2: The Feast Day of All Souls. Not a Holy Day of Obligation, but my family ALWAYS attends Mass on this very important day. In Mexican culture this is the Day of the Dead and we celebrate the Day of the Dead in my home and at Mass. Since I am not Mexican, I have adopted part of the practices only. I don't make the bread or the sugar skulls, but we have adopted the idea. We place pictures or mementos of our beloved dead--grandparents, Mother-in-Law, miscarried baby, other family, a list of names etc--and make an altar in our living room. The altar has a memorial candle (the long tall ones with a saint face on it), I leave the candle unlit because I have a toddler, I only light it during our prayer service. Along with the candle I place all the mementos and pictures of our dead family members and we pray for them and all souls in Purgatory. In the evening we attend Mass and carry along our pictures to place at the altar.
What I love about these two special days of the year, is that it connects the living with the dead. We will tell stories about our dead family members, members my daughter does not know, and in this way we pray for them and continue family traditions and stories. Oh, at the altar we also sing songs during our family service. We tend to sing in Spanish, so we choose Resucito (He is Risen) or Alabare, something joyous for the occasion.

Radical Catholic Mom has a great family tradition going on here! My husband and I are going to model our day after her family's. Thank you! Isn't the Internet great? I have learned so much from others in the community of Catholic blogs.

All Soul's Day in the Philippines

all saints day

All Soul's Day in Poland


Anonymous said...

Thank you for linking and compliments.

I LOVE your idea of having them dress as saints. What a great idea!

Soutenus said...

I took some pictures of our "Saint Procession." If I can get permission from parents to post - I will. Absolutely wonderful!!
The kids all sang, "Oh, when the Saints come marching in. . . " as they processed around our school.

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