We will be celebrating two amazing feast days in our Catholic liturgical year, All Saints and All Souls .
All Souls Day , “The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed” is set aside in the Church to honor the dead by remembering them , praying for them, and celebrating them! We believe that when one dies, ones souls will either enter Heaven, hell, or purgatory.
On All Souls Day, the ones that are waiting in purgatory, are the souls who we need to recall and to pray for!
A.W.Bouguereau, Le Jour Des Morts
One of the beauty of our faith is that it’s universal and with that one gets different styles and customs in celebrating these feast days.
The history of the Day of the Dead comes from the indigenous people, Aztecs , who have combined their own ancient beliefs of honoring their deceased loved ones. They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them.
Their tradition of creating beautiful altars is to honor and celebrate the souls of those who have departed.
When the Spaniards came to Mexico, they educated indigenous people on the faith of the Catholic church and which now you have All Souls Day – Day of the Dead in twine with faith and culture. For example, Aztecs used to celebrate the “Day of the Dead” in the summer yet this influence of the Catholic faith, connected this celebration with All Souls Day.
When people die, many tend to forget about their souls and slowly their memories. This day brings back focus to their beloved departed family members in this colorful celebration .
I want to add that as Catholics we are not calling on any spirits to come to this table of memories or honoring our departed. This is a dangerous act that the Church teaches against it as you can see here:
2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
This post can show the how the Aztec used this custom and how the Spaniards add the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith.
Day of the Dead is a celebration of happiness and joy to remember our deceased loved ones, where sadness and sorrow are not allowed.
The days of the dead are truly a celebration of life. When children dance with caricatures of death, eat skull sugar molds and learn to respect that life is brief, they learn there is a circle to life and to not fear death and then are free to enjoy and appreciate every moment.
First, I would like to make clear that there are many meanings that go along with having an altar.
Having an altar doesn’t mean one is worshiping that soul but that one is honoring the soul. Also the Day of the Dead meanings can go from non-religious as the Aztecs did or be fill with the beauty of Catholic Faith.
Here is how we create our altar for Day of the Dead twine with our Catholic faith.
First thing is that one must create 3 levels to this altar. As you can imagine those levels represent Heaven, Earth, and Purgatory. You would set purgatory on the ground, the table would be earth and then add a tier which will represent Heaven.
To create this place boxes or crates on the table where the altar will be in a way as to create tiers. Put a tablecloth over the table and boxes so that the boxes are hidden . One also decorates by placing the papel picado around the edge of the table and each layer or anywhere on the altar. Here is an easy one to make.
First Level : Purgatory.
Create a “Purgatory” , one usually makes a cross out of candles ( represent light, faith and hope) and decorates using orange marigolds (fresh flowers remind us of the impermanence of life). Also place skull since it is a reminder of the death of our loved ones. Head over to Jenny’s blog and print out your own skull.
Second Level: Earth
.Here is where you place food such as the Bread of the Dead (here is a simple one to make) and other types of food or things that helps us to recall the memory of our loved ones. One would place water or Holy Water ( Water is a source of life and represents purity.) Sugar skulls is another thing add by the Spaniards since sugar was one of the main items they imported and they taught that the sweet skulls is a sweet reminder there is only one thing for sure in life, DEATH. We make sugar skull cookies using this cookie stamp, Fred SWEET SPIRITS Day of the Dead Cookie Cutter/Stampers, Set of 4 , I got off of Amazon. (This is an Amazon Affiliate, therefore if you click on Amazon link and order anything, we get a small advertising fee at no cost to you.)
Third Level: Heaven.
Place a crucifix on the top of the altar. You can also add an icon representing your favorite saint, candles, incense, and marigolds. Here you place pictures of those whom have departed this life in your family that you would like to honor . You may have more than one person. http://je
Head to our Pinterest board for some ideas for All Saints and All Souls/Day of the Dead.
All Souls Days with Day of the Dead, brings a focus back to the meaning of life which is to end in the arms of Our Lord for all eternity in Heaven. We are just on a journey and even after death we still are waiting to enter into Heaven. All souls need to be remembered and prayed for until the end of time!
The Church gives us many ways to pray and help the souls who are still waiting in purgatory especially during All Souls Day.
Indulgences Acts for the Poor Souls is a partial indulgence can be obtained by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed. One can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between November 1 and November 8. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory. – Read more on this beautiful day in the Life of the Church at Catholic Culture
Recall the souls of your beloved departed ones with prayers.
Have a Blessed and Joyous All Saints & Souls Day.
Here is our video showing and talking about the altar that we did live of Facebook on Oct. 26th.