Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Peek Behind the Veil during Three Days of the Living Dead

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Peek Behind the Veil during Three Days of the Living Dead

Article excerpt

There is another triduum besides the official Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Vigil of Easter. This one is populist, and it begins with Halloween, the last day of October, continues with All Saints' Day, the first day of November, and concludes with All Souls' Day, November 2. These days extol the dead, the sainted dead, and our concern for and relationship with the dead.

Halloween comes from two words, hallow, another word for saint, coupled with a derivation of eve. The popular Halloween activities of kids trick-or-treating or bobbing for apples don't much echo this eve's original saintly intention. Nor do destructive fires set on Devil's Night, the eve of Halloween, have any odor of sanctity about them.

Halloween here in the United States has little . connection to its religious roots. One person I know characterizes Halloween's transition from sacred feast to secular fess: "Originally, people dressed like saints and gave food to the poor. Today, people dress like demons and take food for themselves."

All Saints' Day, originally known as Hallowmas, has its origins in the many and varied local church remembrances of their dead. As these local churches began to give way to a more centralized church, a single springtime date was established for the celebration of All Saints. It wasn't until the year 844 that Gregory IV determined this feast should be celebrated on November 1. The Byzantine rite, however, still celebrates All Saints on the first Sunday after Pentecost. …

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