It is Halloween, the night before All Hallows or All Saints’ Day. As I write this, various firecrackers and fireworks can be heard screeching, ‘ka-booming’ and crackling throughout the neighbourhood. The chatter of excited children are in the background. On this nippy October evening, it is not surprising that we’ve had dozens of trick o’treaters at our door already.
I always enjoy handing out the candy; the delight on the little painted faces when I hold the bowl of treats in front of them is priceless. But I understand how Halloween can be such a sad time for babylost parents. For example, one bereaved parent that I know came up with the term “Boo-humbug” to express her feelings about Halloween. For us, the last few years have been more difficult of course, but for some reason, there is a part of me that still enjoys seeing the children and I feel compelled to be the one to give out candy in our household.
The toddlers dressed up in warm, fuzzy costumes make my heart melt like chocolate. This year, my favourite costumes were a chicken, bumble bee, and fairy. This evening, when I heard a light knock at the door, that sounded about knee-high, I braced myself because I knew it was likely a smaller child around Keaton’s age, who would greet me with a smiley “twick-o-tweet!”. Awww, they were all so cute!
I imagine Keaton – who would be around 3 yrs. old now - would have enjoyed going to the pumpkin patch and getting his photos taken. I know he would have ran around with the other kids, picking out a pumpkin that was just his size and we would have taken it home and carved a friendly face on it together. My guess is that our son would have been a cutie hanging out with his 6 month old “dinosaur” cousin, all dressed up in a costume too. I wonder what Keaton would be like right now? What costume would we have chosen for him?
But, what if Halloween represented much more than just dressing up in costumes and running around the neighbourhood trying to get as much candy as possible? From my Filipino roots, I knew that relatives spent time at the cemetery around this time of year and today, I wanted to learn more about what this was all about. It turns out that in certain cultures, All Hallows begins at midnight on Oct.31st and marks the beginning of All Saints’ Day and celebrations for the Day of The Dead.
Solemnity of All Saints
The Feast of All Saints’ is celebrated by Catholics and other Christians on Nov.1st in honour of all Saints who are known and unknown. In Mexico, deceased infants and children or “angelitos” (little angels) are remembered and honoured on this first day of celebration also called Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”). Click here to read about ways to honour and remember relatives who have passed on and for more specific prayers that can be said.
As for me, I’ll be attending Mass tomorrow and visiting my little angelito at his gravesite. I will also be praying for bereaved parents and taking time to remember the heavenly saints whom we know, love and adore. Happy All Saints’ Day children…