Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallow's Eve Celebration

This article (see link above) describes the Catholic origins of Halloween, All Hallow's Eve. The celebration we go to every year emphasizes this, and has a profound effect on the children. Not to mention, it's a lot of fun!
We have apple dunking,donut biting.pleading for 'soul cakes' where children go from door to door inside the home, knock on the door saying, "a soul cake, a soul cake, prayers for a soul cake". The door is opened, and they are asked to pray for the soul of the homeowner's dear departed. After finishing their prayer, they are rewarded with holy objects and candy.
Saint guessing game, children dressed as saints, memorize three clues to their saint's identity. Other children have to guess who they are dressed as.
Procession of the 'saints', singing the hymn "For All the Saints".
Lighting of the jack-0-lanterns.Children are told that the jack-0-lantern is a symbol of our earthly bodies, while the blessed candle within is a symbol of our immortal souls, "our bodies will die, but our souls will live forever".The room is dark, except for the glow of the jack-0-lanterns. The Litany of the Saints is read, and the children clearly understand that this evening has prepared them for an entire month of prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

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