All Saints

Posted by eFlorist on 30/10/14 11:32

Inspirational380x210_170All Saints is a Catholic Holiday taking place on November 1st, on which all Saints that are recognized by the Catholic Church are honoured. All Saints is the day before the celebration of the dead which was officially scheduled for November 2nd. However, in many countries, November 1st is a bank holiday, established to commemorate the dead on November 1st instead. This we can see from century-old traditions such as candles in cemeteries and more recently the leaving of flowers on graves on All Saints Day.

Yet in many countries, the celebration of the dead is more important than the celebration of All Saints. The common point of all the different celebrations is to honor the memory of those that have passed.

Mexico – Pagan Festival and Drinking in Cemeteries

This Mexican tradition is rooted among the Aztecs, to whom death was a real honour. Probably one of the oldest festivals in the world commemorating the dead, “El Dia de los Muertos” sees Mexico adorned with colourful decorations, although a little morbid. On November 1st, the towns and villages celebrate the passing of the “Angelitos”, the “little angels”. Far from being a sad event, these early deaths are often viewed by Mexicans as a little angel watching their family from up there. Throughout the day, Mexicans will eat small bone or coffin shaped biscuits, you’ll be relieved to know that if you are offered a cupcake in the shape of a coffin with your name on it, it is in fact a sign of affection. On November 2nd, it’s time to celebrate the adults who passed away. In each family home, a large table is set, on which they put offerings and heirlooms of the family. As the night progress, families head to the cemetery and place food and offerings on the graves. Candles are placed on tombstones so that souls can find their loved ones and festivities continue right through until dawn. Priests are prohibited in cemeteries as it is indeed a pagan holiday!

Antilles, Guadeloupe - Between Christianity and Hinduism

If you were to find yourself in a cemetery at night on November 2nd in Guadeloupe you would probably believe you were in Mexico, the atmosphere of both events are incredibly similar. Each family will gather round the graves of the deceased for a night of celebration. Here, however, they drink rum to celebrate ancestors. In the Caribbean, the Day of the Dead involves getting ready for a week before, cleaning the grave, decorating with impressive paint and so on. It is so important for a family to show respect for ancestors in these cultures.

On the island, the Christian traditions are complemented by Hindu traditions. Local people celebrate the Sanblani for All Saints. Originating in southern India, this festival is a celebration of the anniversary of each member of the family that has passed away. On this occasion, a great meal is organized. Traditionally seven columbos (a traditional meal) and the favourite dishes of the deceased are prepared. Once the table is set and the meals are ready, all living members of the family are invited to leave the house, taking care to close the door so that the deceased can taste their favourite meals once more.

Japan - Wonderful chrysanthemums

In many countries, the chrysanthemum is the flower associated with death and funeral. But not in Japan where chrysanthemum is the national flower, it was the emblem for the Japanese Empire. For centuries Japanese people and gardeners devote their lives to creating new species so precious that they could be mistaken for orchids. The Day of the Dead in Japan is much more simple and classic. Families come to visit the graves of their ancestors to pray and leave chrysanthemums on the graves.

Sicily - When the dead spoil the next generation

In Palermo, the Day of the Dead is actually a celebration organized around children. This day is an opportunity to share good time in family. During the day, children go with adults to the catacombs so they can touch the bones, and thus, they do not break contact with the dead. In the streets of the Sicilian capital, as in most villages of the island, small merchants sell on this occasion the "ossa dei morti"; a biscuit covered with white sugar. Literally, it means "paste of the dead." By late afternoon, the dead are said to return for a moment on earth, just the time to offer some gifts to children. In Sicily, the ancestors of the family spoil the new generation. Day of the dead is much nearer Christmas time than other countries.

France – chrysanthemum on graves

The tradition is to honor the dead by putting many chrysanthemums on the graves. Either small buds or large flowers, as a single plant or in a garden mix, chrysanthemum is the flower for All Saints and the Dead. In France, people go to cemetery on 1st November not on 2nd November as this is a bank holiday. All Saints is now associated to the Day of the Dead which is officially the day after in the calendar.

If you want to celebrate your ancestors or honor someone send flowers, take a look at our sympathy flower range and let our florists hand-prepare and hand-deliver a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

Topics: eFlorist News