November 2nd Day of the Dead

Nov. 2nd Day of the Dead Day

Today marks the end of the Day of the Dead in Mexico. It is celebrated beginning on October 31st. The Day of the Dead may date back to Aztec Festivals where one remembers the dead by building altars and placing the favorite foods of the departed in remembrance of them, and to help them with the spiritual journey as they move on in life. Yes, I said life because to those who believe in the festival, those that have died are still on a journey to reach their final resting place. It is considered a part of life, not the end of it. It certainly keeps the memories of those who have passed on before us alive!

How to celebrate – Visit Mexico. Dress up in Day of the Dead festive outfits. Remember those who have passed on fondly.

October 31st Halloween

Well, if you haven’t heard by now, today is Halloween. It is a part of a three day celebration in the Christian world where we remember the dead, saints, and martyrs. The Western Civilization actually prefers to call it All Hallow’s Day, though it also goes by Allhalloween, All Hallow’s Eve, and All Saint’s Eve. It seems to have originated from a pagan Celtic harvest festival called Samhain, which Christians renamed Halloween.

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Of course it has the trick-or-treat tradition along with costumes, turning pumpkins into Jack-o-Lanterns, gathering around bonfires, bobbing for apples, pulling pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling of scary stories and watching horror movies. The religious world celebrates with the lighting of candles on grave sites to honor the departed.

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Of course over the years we don’t do the bobbing for apples anymore because of the possibility of passing germs. The original association was a type of celebration for the apple harvesting season. And you’d better be careful with the bonfires, make sure you get a permit or it may be your last Halloween as a free man.

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We may have gotten a little carried away with the costumes and decorations and certainly gone way overboard on the haunted houses, but it all should be in good fun. In many ways, the real world is scarier than the world created during Halloween.

Another tradition not widely celebrated is the abstaining from eating meat on Halloween. It is know as Vigil Day where one only eats fruits and vegetables, and probably candy… though a lot of candies have meat byproducts in them.

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How to celebrate – Go out trick-or-treating. Create a fun, and safe, atmosphere for kids to enjoy themselves (and adults as well). Throw a Halloween party observing as many of the holiday traditions as you can.