Twin Celebrations: Halloween and All Saints Day

Oct 31st, 2008 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Halloween and All Saints Day are twin occasions. One, through historical and traditionally cultural celebrations, points to the observance as All Saints Day, which focuses less on the macabre and more on the spiritual. One is no less an occasion for confronting the reality of death than the other.

Halloween has come to be a commercialized, more frivolous and mundane occasion, while All Saints Day is more dignified, more concentrated on the passing of a dear family member, individual friend or collective group of deceased persons who have borne considerable importance in our lives.

No one argues that one is more or less important than the other. It could be said that Halloween is the opening act. It is the opportunity to allow one to move from celebration to contemplation. Death, in both cases, is still a stark reality. Perception of and management of death differs in the two.

Many memorial services today are less somber and more celebrative. Recognition is given to the value of the life of the deceased and to their passing from our presence. It becomes an affirmation of their importance, example, lessons taught from their time among us.

All Saints Day, as an annual event, catches up all who have died in the past year and gives public opportunity for a renewed remembering of their importance to our lives.

Like Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Halloween is more a human experience, a frivolous regard for what follows, which is the awareness of death, and in the case of Lent and Easter, an acknowledgment of Resurrection. One does not occur without the other. While there is an element of paganism in these acts, there is struggle and resistance and finally surrender.

Halloween is another way to confront death. And, if one readies oneself to deal with the sure and certain prospect of death, there is no impropriety in facing it in whatever way gives a person insight into recognizing its inevitability. Fear of death prompts lack of faith. Who knows, for sure, what lies on the other side? Like all mysteries no solution, however couched in language, gives us a final picture of what death may be like in its existential state.

These human occasions, Halloween, All Saints Day, Fat Tuesday, even Good Friday, at best only give us a glimpse, and it is a glimpse made up of metaphysical experiences.

No arguments here regarding how one acts out ones faith and belief system. These in the moment experiences simply allow a pragmatic way for us to express a desire to reach beyond ourselves in life and to grasp what lies beyond in death.

So whatever, however you may go about incorporating these occasions in your own metaphysical moment, do so with satisfaction and joy that attempting to reach out for mercy and grace is an ever constant undertaking.



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