It’s Tuesday November 1st ! And in Louisiana and many other places will be celebrating our lost love ones. With cleaning of graves, placing flowers and enjoying fellowship with family and friends. There lives live on in story and food so they are never forgotten.
All Saints Day in Louisiana
The day after Halloween, All Saints Day (La Toussaint), is more important in south Louisiana than in any other area of the country both as a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation and as a day of family unity. “According to the custom of the people, all crops had to be in, hogs were turned out to glean the cornfields and potato patches.
The day is one of elaborate ceremony closely aligned with Latin American celebrations on the “Day of the Dead.” Many people recount that “families would gather all day to whitewash the graves and decorate them for All Saints.” They would bring a picnic lunch and eat at the cemetery. Every tomb was adorned with a coronne de toussaints, a wreath of artificial or fresh flowers. Since the flowers of All Saints Day were to be everlasting through the year, the use of the waxed paper flower wreaths was popular. At one time, many women made the wreaths. One source said Black women would sell their wreaths on the steps of St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church in St. Martinville. Today, the use of crepe paper wreaths has been largely replaced by plastic flowers. In some French Catholic cemeteries in southeast Louisiana parishes, a late evening mass is followed by a candlelight ceremony in the graveyard and a blessing of the tombs. One gentleman remembers, “They would parade and parade . . . . Each one would put the candle on his [family’s] tomb and kneel down and the priest would bless the dead.” Most of the people interviewed have no recollection of this practice in Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry or Evangeline parishes, but many churches do conduct daytime mass followed by a blessing of the cemetery.
Mexico Day of the Dead :
This year, Day of the Dead observances are celebrated beginning on the evening of Monday, October 31, 2022 and end on Wednesday, November 3, 2022.
With some similarities to an American Halloween, Dia de los Muertos is a festive celebration which survives from ancient Mexico.
It was only when the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century that the festival was paired with the Catholic All Souls Day and All Saints Day, celebrated on November 1 and November 2.
As they still say in Mexico, “Nobody truly dies unless they are forgotten”. The day is still a very special one, helping to keep family memories alive.
Children are remembered on the Day of the Innocents (“Día de los Inocentes”) on November 1, followed by other loved ones who are counted among the dearly departed on November 2, the Day of the Dead.
In ancient Mexico, rituals celebrating the lives of dead ancestors had been performed by Mesoamerican civilizations for at least 3,000 years. Festivities were presided over by the goddess Mictecacihuatl, known as the “Lady of the Dead”.
It was common practice to use skulls as trophies and display them during rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.