Going to the cemetery every 1st day of November to light a candle and offer a prayer and flowers for our dead relatives had always been an integral part of us being Filipinos. We never miss to clean their graves, repaint and repair them annually. But have you ever wondered how other countries celebrate All Saints Day?
All Saints Day is a solemn holy day of the Catholic Church dedicated to the Saints of the Church, those who have attained heaven. It should not be confused with All Souls Day which is celebrated on the 2nd day of November , which is dedicated to those who have died but has not yet attained heaven.All Saints’ Day is also commemorated by members of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as some Protestant churches, such as Anglican and Lutheran churches.
Holy day customs vary around the world. In the United States, the day before is Halloween and is usually celebrated by dressing up in costumes of varying themes. Children go door-to-door in costume, trick-or-treating, that is soliciting goodiesfrom their neighbors. The holy day has lost much of its connection to its religious origins.Although nearly everyone celebrates Halloween for the fun and not the religious solemnity, it is not widely practiced or acknowledged by most Americans unless they are Catholic.
Across much of Europe, November 1stis commemorated with offerings of flowers left on the graves of the dead. In Eastern Europe, candles are lit on graves instead of offerings of flowers.
In other countries, such as Portugal, Spain, and Mexico, traditional practices include theperformance of the play, “Don Juan Tenorio,” and offerings made to the dead. In Portugal, children celebrate the Pal-por-Deus tradition and go door-to-door where they receive cakes, nuts, and pomegranates. This only occurs in some areas around Lisbon.
In Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Croatia, Austria, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Catholic parts of Germany, the tradition is to light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives.
Mexican Day of the Dead holy days extends from October 31 through November 2. This holiday has spread in popularity into parts of the United States and across Latin America. It is celebrated to coincide with both the American tradition and the Catholic holy days. Those three days are dedicated to all of the dead.
By Adelaida C. Marquez