By Natalie Bauman, Columnist
As evidenced by the new chill in the air and the crunch of leaves underfoot, a new season is among us. Whatever your preferred terminology – fall, autumn, spooky season – change is in the air. Over the next weeks, children will be searching for the perfect Halloween costume, students will be consuming mass amounts of pumpkin spice, and parents will be deciding where to cap their children’s candy intake. In the midst of this festivity, something seems to be missing. The Catholic tradition of All Saint’s Day often goes unnoticed and is easily misunderstood.
All Saints Day traditionally celebrates all those who have entered heaven. This includes both Saints recognized by the Church and and the saints who may have walked among us. This holy day was established in the mid-eighth century as an attempt to replace pagan holidays that formerly stood in its place. At first, the day was meant to celebrate only Saints and venerate their relics.
All Saints Day looks different now. Though much of the connection has been lost to secular society, Halloween activities trace roots to All Saints Day; an example of this is dressing up in costumes relating to death. In the modern American Catholic tradition, All Saints Day is a solemnity that is rarely celebrated outside of attending Mass to fulfill the day of obligation. However, other Catholic cultures celebrate this holy day extensively. In Mexico, this day is blended with traditional Day of the Dead festivities. In other Latin American countries, it is common for plays to be performed during celebrations, and across Europe it is common for families to spend the day leaving offerings on the graves of their late relatives.
All Saints Day is an important day in Catholic cultures around the world; while traditions may differ across continents, this day is still one that unites Catholics in remembering those who have walked and worshipped before us. Perhaps it could serve as an opportunity for us to foster new traditions within our families, to preserve this celebration that has been a part of Catholic identity for centuries.
Source: Catholic Online