Hallow: To make or consider holy or sacred
The Hallowtide Days are coming. For those unfamiliar with this term it is simply what we call Halloween (or All Hallows), All Saints Day and All Souls Day; a three day period of sacred days that call us to reflection life and death.
Celebrating holidays other than Halloween is rather new to me, but I jump at the idea of finding more holidays to celebrate that don’t revolve around presents and sugar and give my family the chance to reflect on particular idea or themes throughout the year.
Our Halloween will look very much like the typical Halloween, in all it’s secular glory. I love having a day that is about dress-up and just having some great fun. I think it’s a great opportunity to get outside with friends and family one last time before winter sets in – here in Iowa it’s all too common to get snow the next day (go here to read a post from last years reflection on Halloween
). I think it’s great to encourage kids to face things that are frightening. I believe in encouraging imagination and pretend play because I think it opens the mind to accepting the miraculous, mysterious and almost unknowable Truths in the world. We will be wearing costumes, going door to door, collecting and giving out candy just like so many others (most of that candy will be pawned off on co-workers the next day). We will have jack-o-lanterns and decorations, because I really do love this little holiday.
Religiously speaking All Hallow’s Eve is supposed to be a time of reflection, to prepare yourself for the two days following and it will be, but who’s to say that sometimes you can’t have quite a bit of fun at the wake before the funeral.
The following days are All Saints and All Souls. All Saints is a day we’re pretty much told that we need to make it to Mass and luckily our parish has an evening Mass so we’ll be making a special effort to go. In fact, it will be my first All Saints Mass and I’m quite curious to find out what it’s all about. It’s also said that going to a cemetery and praying helps the souls in purgatory. Not to sound to macabre, but I plan on taking Henry for a short visit to the grave of a dear friend of mine lost when we were only 13. He was Catholic and I feel like he’d appreciate the gesture. These are days to reflect on those we have lost, but it should end with a feeling of hope not hopelessness. These are days to reflect on those who are gone from us, but have been given a great reward or to pray for those who might still be seeking that reward in this life or the next.
These days, while a little morbid in their subject matter, are not meant to be gloomy or frightening. Rather it is a chance to face the reality of life and death and to reflect on any beliefs or practices that give us hope in the face of such a finite occasion. It is a time to reflect on the good in the lives of those near to us and those we might learn about.
The Hallowtide days are great way to reflect and remember. A perfect time to pull out photo albums and family videos. To take down favorite recipes or make a toast. It is a time to face our fears, remember those we love and reflect on what is to come.