Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints, All Souls

Halloween, of course—but in this day and age perhaps worth repeating—is a contraction of All Hallows Even, thus the evening before All Saints Day, which is today. As I noted two years ago on this occasion (link), the two words that make up today’s holiday tend to be contractions—except in English. The French speak of La Toussaint, the Italians of Ognissanti, the Germans of  Allerheiligen, Hungarians of Mindszentek. Halloween is a similar formation. The post I put up in 2010, using the German words for All Saints and All Souls developed quite some traffic, thereafter, but especially leading up to the feast itself last year and this. With that in mind I thought I’d offer another illustration this year, this time one showing how the feast is celebrated in Poland but obtained from the Hungarian Wikipedia (link).

The day dawned appropriately dark and grey, nature dimming our view of the glorious here and now. The random rain that kept our Halloween traffic very light last night had stopped. It looked like November. What better time to set aside some time for a little reflection on the greater view of reality—in which the departed saints and souls (the last celebrated tomorrow) are remembered. We need an occasion for that—and in cultures still close to the roots of Christendom (the photo I show is from 1984 in the town of Osviecim in Poland), the remembering is active. As the storms in this dimension roar and roar on, and this follows that in its grim round, it is good to behold some light in the dark.

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