Of saints & souls

Today is supposed to be the Day of the Dead or in the less eerie connotation the All Souls’ Day which is celebrated worldwide even long before the Christian churches invented All Saints Day which falls on November 1.

But in the Philippines, tradition tells us it’s the All Saints Day that the Christians, specifically Catholics, celebrate and not the Day of the Dead although they troop to the cemeteries not for the saint but for their dead.

The title of saints was an invention of the Catholic Church to separate the sinners from the holy.

My fear is that All Saints’ Day was invented by the Catholic Church, the Papacy, to solicit funds from the holier than thou who wanted their relatives “canonized” and to attain beatific status and reach heaven faster.

As for the dead who are not willing to cough up money for the status being called saints, they have that particular day for the souls who are still lingering somewhere in the cemeteries and haunted houses.

It could have been better than instead of All Saints Day which is reserved for the rich or for their rich benefactors, the Aquino III should have also declared All Souls’ Day for the commoners, for the dead who cannot afford to go to heaven without the necessary fares issued by the Pope.

Here’s a little bit of history about the thing called All Saints Day and All Souls Day:

All Souls’ Day in the United States is a day of prayer for deceased souls. Many Christians visit cemeteries where their loved ones are buried.

Some cemeteries offer candles to be placed on these graves. The candles are blessed and marked with the names of the deceased to be placed at the designated grave sites. The Catholic Church remembers deceased members of the congregation on this day.

Although All Souls’ Day is observed informally by some Protestants, it is primarily a Roman Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox holy day.

The Day of the Dead celebrations can be traced back to the various indigenous groups, such as the Aztecs and other pre-Hispanic civilizations, from as far back as 3000 years ago. Skulls were collected and used during rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.

During these celebrations some people wear masks, carry signs, or put up elaborate decorations to honor the dead. Some community centers invite people to commemorate their deceased loved ones with offerings that include food, symbols, flowers, candles, photos and other mementos. Altars in memory of the dead are also made in people’s homes.

In terms of Western Christian theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the next day, All Souls’ Day, specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Raul Valino


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