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Remembering Loved Ones
As I walked through the supermarket today I noticed the pumpkins and other goodies ready for the annual Halloween celebrations. The modern rituals of Halloween - carving the pumpkins into lanterns, dressing up as ghosts and witches and trick or treating are now very common in Australia but not many people are aware of the origins.
TCN Celebrant and today's guest and regular blogger Sonia Collins from Batemans Bay, NSW talks about the Remembering Our Loved Ones.
Halloween dates back a couple of thousand years to the Celtic people of Britain and Europe. Their New Year started on 1 November and marked the end of the summer and the harvest and the beginning of the long dark days of winter. They believed that on the day before New Year the boundaries between the living and the dead became blurred and ghosts returned to earth. Their priests, the Druids lit bonfires, made animal sacrifices to the gods and made prophecies.
The Christian church adopted 1 November as All Saints Day, a day for remembering all the martyred saints known and unknown. In some churches All Souls Day on 2 November,is a day to remember all who had died with faith in other churches All Saints Day predominates. Preparations for the festivals commenced on All Saints Eve (or All Hallows Eve). In many historically Christian countries All Saints Day is a national holiday and families traditionally attend church and visit the graves of family members to leave flowers, candles and even share food.
Today, with fewer people attending churches, early November is often chosen as a time for civil ceremonies to remember the people we have loved and lost. Many civil celebrants work with families and local community groups to hold memorial ceremonies. Typically there will be flowers and remembrance candles, a slide show of photos of the people being commemorated, poetry or other readings and music. Sometimes a tree is planted and everyone present is invited to write a short message of love to their family member and the messages are buried with the tree roots. Refreshments and a time for chat and sharing memories usually follow.
Celebrants from The Celebrants Network are trained and skilled to work with you to create a memorial ceremony for your family or community group. You can contact a celebrant from your local area here.