Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy All Saints Day, Everyone!

We're doing our best to counter the American tradition of "trick or treating" here in Oz. A bit of whinging from the girls ("Why not?") but thankfully no-one knocked on our door this year.

Instead we had a little "All Saints Eve" devotion, singing "For all the Saints" and using the introduction to Amy Welborn's excellent book "The Loyola Kids Book of Saints", a gift from Mia's Godfather, the excellent Fraser Pearce (who, by the way, has an excellent comment up yesterday in time for "Reformation Day", on the role of scripture in the Lutheran and Catholic Churches in relation to dogma).

We're having a sung mass in the Cathedral today, yours truly doing the cantoring. Ditto again tomorrow for All Souls. If you are in Melbourne at 1pm, come along.

3 Comments:

At Thursday, November 01, 2007 2:17:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Trick or treat mate!

Sorry you missed it. It's still Halloween here.

It was a lot of fun.

My younger son's "Christian" day-care wasn't into it, but then again they're not into All Saints' Day either.

 
At Thursday, November 01, 2007 5:53:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

A sense of outraged national pride compels me to point out that it’s an Irish tradition, which has passed through an American filter on its way here.

When I was a child we went door-to-door to be given apples, nuts and lollies on Hallowe’en. We dressed in costume – not necessarily with a ghoulish theme, anything bizarre would do – and there was no express or implied threat of mischief if we weren’t fed. The phrase “trick or treat” was unknown. The evening ended with a party at which the apples and nuts, and a fruit-loaf called “brack”, were eaten and food games were played. The tradition of children gathering food for a party at Hallowe’en is very ancient.

The festival in Ireland is pre-Christian, with a later Christian overlay. It’s basically a harvest festival, hence the distribution of apples and nuts (which are seasonal in Ireland in October) and the party. All Saints Day has been celebrated in Ireland at the beginning of November since about the eighth century, but it had remarkably little impact on the nature of Hallowe’en celebrations.

Irish migrants brought these traditions to America, where (I guess) they fused with “day of the dead” traditions brought by French or Spanish migrants to make the American Hallowe’en.

Like any other harvest festival, the Irish tradition is completely compatible with Christianity; it’s a celebration of bounty.

 
At Friday, November 02, 2007 12:09:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

David, there's a lovely photo in the morning's paper of the little ones at All Saints Catholic Elementary School dressed as their patron saints.

The beautiful statue on the grounds of St. Francis cradling a bird is lovely, too.

I look forward to attending Mass at my parish this evening. I cherish All Saints Day.

Peregrinus, thanks for your very interesting comments!

 

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