Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All Souls' Day - Bring your loved ones home

Czech halloween is celebrated today, but it's really known as Dušičky, aka památka zesnulých (All Souls' Day).  All Souls' Day is celebrated after All Saints' Day, which was yesterday (Nov. 1st) and is a day when we remember loved ones and place flowers and candles by their graves.  
This holiday dates back to the Celtic tradion of Samhain, the Celtic New Year, when our world blends with the world of souls.  That night people placed candles by their houses so the souls of the dead could find their way to them.   

All Souls' Day is celebrated around the world, but in different ways.  In the US, Australia, Ireland, etc., it's celebrated under the name Halloween.  The name was taken from the original name All Hallow's Even, and was founded in the 19th century.  Trick-or-treating stems from the tradition when children originally knocked on doors to get fruit, nuts and sweets for the Halloween festival.  People also sprinkled salt on the hair of children to protect them against evil spirits.

People in the Czech Republic became fans of Halloween mainly for carving pumpkins.  iDnes Journal posted an article about Tomas Halik, President of the Czech Christian Academy, who argued that this new trend isn't good and that the Czech Dušičky holiday has much more meaning and depth.

Not all costumes have to be scary...

"The Dude"

Even animals like to dress up (or perhaps not, but their humans sure do get a kick out of it!)

Prague at night is the perfect setting for Halloween... the gothic buildings add an allure you won't find anywhere else!

No matter which version of Halloween you chose to celebrate, it's better than not celebrating at all!  I like to celebrate both...Halloween on October 31st is a fun way to dress-up in costume, and Dušičky on November 2nd is the day I chose to remember loved ones who have gone on to the "other" world.  I'll surely light a few candles today so that they can find their way home.