Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Remembering the dead

Happy Halloween, Samhain, All Hallow's Eve, Day of the Dead! I love Halloween. It is my favorite holiday and probably the one with the most meaning to me. For most people it's simply a time when kids dress up and go out begging for candy or TPing houses.

The deeper, more spiritual meaning of Halloween has been lost through American commercialism and by those who fear and abhor what they don't understand out of ignorance. Too many religious groups have pegged it as a holiday connected to black magic or satanism, which, in some circles, it is.

For me it's a day of reflection and remembrance. In my beliefs, the veil between this world, and the next, is at its thinnest. It's the beginning of a new year in the Circle of Life, when life and death are intertwined and both must be reflected upon. It's a time to let go of the old and look forward to the new.

No, I don't believe the ghosts and spirits all come out to play tricks on people, but I do believe it's a time that we should remember and honor our ancestors and those who are gone who have shaped our lives in some way or another. It's a time when we can feel closer to the dead and invite them to be honored and remembered while we celebrate our own lives. It's a time to remember that although death is the end of one chapter, it is also the beginning of another, and that without death, there can be no life.

My beliefs fall close to what Latinos celebrate as Day of the Dead, or All Saints Day, and closest of all to Samhain (Gaelic for Summer's End.)

My best friend's daughter summed it up well: "It's like Veteran's Day, but for everyone who has died." Yes. That's exactly it.

So, while you and your kids are out knocking on doors and filling up on candy, take a moment to remember someone close to you who has died, because tonight, they are most likely to hear you. And while you're at it, celebrate life!


Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing this belief with us. Its always facinating to hear what others beleive and why.

I grew up Catholics and All Saints Day was a big thing for us too. But we'd always get the day off from school. Course I always assumed it was because kids were so crazy the day after Halloween from all of the sugar. heehee

Ninja Of The Mundane said...

Celebrate life.

And don't run upstairs when the slasher starts chasing you.

MP said...

I was trying to explain that to people all day yesterday!!