Today is the feast of All Souls, a special time for us to pray for those who have gone before us.
In Catholic Mexico, this has turned into a special day to celebrate and pray for our lost loved ones. They call it The Day of the Dead, and I'm sure you've seen some of the sugar skulls and other skeleton themed decorations!
They often spend the day at the cemetery, picnicking, telling stories, and playing music. They also set up a special altar to pray for their loved ones.
Growing up in America, the emphasis was on praying and sacrificing for the dead, and it was a day of fasting, rather than feasting!
I've come to think that both are great responses to the love and mercy of God who offers us both a way to help our beloved dead, and a reminder that we are still very much connected in the Body of Christ!
This year we celebrated the day with my friend Shelli and her family. Their family tree is rooted in Mexico, so we had a wonderful mix of customs.
We started with Mass, then visited my family's graves, stopping to decorate them and pray for them (and the other people buried there).
Then we went back home and decorated an altar with pictures of their family's beloved dead, sugar skulls, flowers, and beautiful fall leaves.
We ate pan de las muertos, sugar cookie skulls, Mexican hot chocolate, and candied pumpkin.
We had sugar skull coloring pages and a pinata, but we ran out of time (we'll do the pinata when we have less candy around!) .
And we've been praying the Rosary and offering up little sacrifices all day.
I learned two things: the tradition in Mexico is to leave the seeds in when you candy the pumpkin (and add guava), and that they don't eat the sugar skulls!
If you do something different to celebrate, I'd love to hear about it! Happy Feast of All Souls!