Sunday, October 27, 2013

Three Scary, Holy, Sad Days

I'm not a huge fan of Halloween for one, simple reason- I always have a hard time thinking up costumes and don't have a lot of time to put anything together. Last year I enjoyed it more than I have for awhile though, mostly because we took Esme trick or treating at the mall and she had a great time.

Of course, despite all the energy, hype, money, and excitement we put into Halloween, it shouldn't be lost on us that this "holiday" is closely connected to two others.
Yet this isn't necessarily something a lot of us talk with our kids about. Another thing we don't often talk to our kids about is death, largely because we aren't sure what to say or how to explain. So when I found this activity about the holy days connected to Halloween, it seemed like a great fit for this time of year.

The activity was written by Susan Vogt and can be found at vibrantfaithathome.org As she writes, "Most everyone in America is familiar with Halloween and “trick or treating.” But Halloween is just the first of three days that are related to each other. One is scary, one is holy, and one is sad. Do you know which is which and why?"

Prepare in Advance
  • You’ll need a book of Saints (or access to Saint stories on the internet),
  • Do some self-education on the origin of Halloween. Go to Wikipedia or put “Halloween origins” into your preferred internet search engine.
  • It would be nice (but not essential) to choose a similar time each of these three days to do your activity since they are connected to each other, such as right after supper.
Activity Plan
1. On October 31 (Halloween), whether you are taking kids “trick or treating” or just handing out treats at home, it’s nice to know that the idea of wearing scary costumes comes from the fact that the word, “Halloween” is a variation of “All Hallow’s Eve” which means the evening before the Feast of All Saints – celebrating people who have died but are remembered as holy people. Dress up if you like and enjoy the idea that sometimes it can be scary to be a holy person because you might be called upon to do courageous things.

2. On November 1 (All Saints Day) read about the saint you were named after. If you don’t have a saint’s name, pick a name or a saint that you like and read about his or her life.
  • What made them special?
  • What challenges did they face?
  • How are you like your saint or different from him or her.
  • If you are doing this with your children, teach them about their saint too or have them pick a favorite saint’s name. What saint would you most like to emulate?
3. On November 2 (All Souls Day), make a list of your deceased relatives and close friends. Remember how precious each person is to you. Was there any element of faith that any of these people passed on to you?

4. If possible visit their graves. If this is not possible go to a cemetery anyway and pray at the grave of any unknown person. They can remind you of your loved one. Besides, everyone deserves to be remembered – even the unknowns. Invite your children to go with you. Life goes on and passes on through them.

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