Hello my young friends,
I am sure many of you got out yesterday, or during the past weekend, and filled your plastic pumpkins, paper treat bags or even pillowcases with candy from homes in your neighborhood. Halloween is a holiday most everyone celebrates by dressing up, enjoying food and drink, and traveling from house to house for treats. But did you know it also has a connection to our celebration of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days?
Let’s start with the celebration of Halloween. The origin of Halloween dates back to a Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”). Samhain was celebrated annually to recognize the year’s harvest and to honor the dead. As Christianity grew, the day became known as All Hallows’ Eve — the day before All Saints’ Day.
On All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1, we celebrate the Communion of Saints, including the holy men and women who have passed before us, but do not have feast days of their own. Pope Gregory III designated Nov. 1 to honor the saints and by the 7th century, All Hallows’ Eve, later called “Halloween,” merged as a time to acknowledge the passage into death and to celebrate those who have passed into Eternal Life.
All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2 is when we remember and pray for all those who have died as well as all those souls in purgatory. Ways that we can remember those who have died include visiting the cemetery where they are buried, lighting a candle or attending Mass, just to name a few.
While Christians have always prayed for the dead, All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days give us time to stop and pray for all those we loved in this life and now remember with reverence following their deaths.
Honor the saints today, Nov. 1, and send up your prayers tomorrow, Nov. 2, for all those who have departed this world. May God abundantly bless you and your family this month, as we inch closer to the season of Advent.