|Cemetery decorated for All Saints Day in Slovakia|
I recently saw a photograph in a Slovak newspaper of a cemetery decorated for the “Halloween” season. It was full of wreaths, ribbons and flowers arranged respectfully around the graves and candles and torches that lit up the cemetery as if for a Christmas festival.
This struck me as a much more pleasant way of celebrating the holiday than I am used to. Here in the US we also celebrate the dead but in a much more morbid and horrible way.
The reason Halloween is connected with the dead is because in the Christian world this is the season of the souls in heaven and purgatory. We celebrate the reward of these souls on Nov 1 and 2 the feast of all saints and all souls.
In the United States we celebrate the season of Halloween but in the secular world it has no connection whatsoever to the souls in heaven and purgatory. So we admit some connection with the dead but this connection becomes either secularized (dressing up like animals or inanimate objects) or demonized (dressing up like witches, goblins, devils).
I am definitely not condemning Halloween traditions (the innocent ones)! The greatest pleasures of a Catholic family can be found in the
celebration of holidays! And Halloween is not evil; it is actually an abbreviation for All Hallowed Eve, the eve of all saints and all souls! Just like in Slovakia where the festivities are wholesome and festive, we can celebrate American Halloween in a wholesome and festive way and much more so than our neighbors who don’t even know what they are celebrating!
Mothers must preserve traditions in their families and create the ambience of joyfulness and celebration! The secret of a happy family is largely this. A Catholic lady is the heart of the home and must try as hard as she can to bring pleasure to her husband and children.So, just as the Christ Child is the reason for Christmas; the good souls who have died are the reason for Halloween. Candy, pumpkins, mums, scarecrows, and costume parties might be a little secular to celebrate their happiness, but I see nothing wrong about them as long as you focus on the something better (i.e. Saints costume parties, praying at the cemetery, offering Masses for the deceased)!