Thursday, 20 August 2009

All Souls' Day

All Souls' Day, also known as Day of the Dead and Feast of All Souls, commemorates the departed. This holiday is primarily observed within the Catholic church.

The Roman Catholic celebration is based on the doctrine that the souls of the faithful which at death have not been cleansed from the temporal punishment due to venial sins, or have not fully been purged from attachment to mortal sins, cannot attain the beatific vision in heaven yet, and that they may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass. In other words, when they died, they had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven. This sanctification is carried out posthumously in Purgatory.

In Slovakia it is custom for friends and relatives to go at night to the cemetery and place flowers and candles on the graves of deceased loved ones.

While reading this article I learned that cemeteries in Slovakia are often "active, colorful and vibrant places". Year round there are always many people in the cemeteries maintaining graves and visiting lost loved ones. It's fascinating to think just how uncomfortable our culture is with death, if you mention an interest in cemeteries many pass it off simply as 'morbid'. I urge anyone to read The Victorian Celebration of Death.. the author James Stevens Curl touches on some interesting subjects about our view of death today.

I found this awesome entry at Pumpkin Rot, which prompted me to do my own entry.