Ah, the morning after Halloween. My family survived. The house still stands.
Last night, I almost got down on my knees and thanked the Heavens that I am no longer in junior high, which fairly surprised me, since I’ve always had fond memories of my seventh grade year.
My brother Bobby had his entire grade over last night (between 35-40 tweens) and I just don’t remember being so silly. I am positive I was, but perhaps not as much? (This is the optimist in me speaking.) My sister Muff had 8-10 girls over as well, and they were much more sedated. Can two years really be the difference? Then again, this was Bobby’s very first girl-boy party at our house, so the novelty has yet to wear off.
Last year, Anna W. and myself were interviewed by the school paper about what we thought about Halloween. Anna was the co-president of Catholic Society and I was the Social Chair, thus rendering us worth quoting. (Catholic Society hosted a Council of Trent Party on Halloween, hence the article.)
Catholics do not have a definitive teaching on Halloween. Most just treat it as a charitable and fun holiday where kids get dressed up and people give them candy. My dad likes to say it’s a pagan holiday, but my mom says it’s all in good fun. Mom usually took us around the neighborhood and Dad would hand out the candy. I asked one of Muffy’s friends who is from Israel what she thought of Halloween, this being her first time experiencing the holiday. She said she initally felt rude asking people for candy, but had a good time. I thought that was an interesting reaction.
This year, for the first time in six years since moving to our “new” house (i.e. not the house I grew up in), we got our first trick-or-treaters!! We live on a hill, so kids don’t usually come to our house. When Muffy was younger, she went out with a group and as they walked past our house, she suggested the group go up. “Oh no,” said a girl, “we can’t! It’s haunted!” So apparently our house is haunted.
My aunt and uncle brought my littlest cousins by and they were tres adorable. Mags was dressed up in a pink cardigan and had bunny ears on and Nattles had on a cow jacket, with a hood that had ears and a tail in the back. It was definitely cuteness overload. I’ll have to post pictures later.
Halloween is also known as Reformation Day, which I cannot help but notice many Protestants like celebrating. My freshman year, a couple of my classmates burned an effigy of the pope, which was tasteless and meant as a joke. Nothing like that has happened since, to the best of my knowledge. Catholics consider the Reformation a true tragedy, since it effectively split Christendom and the Body of Christ. This was not Martin Luther’s intent when he posted his 95 theses. He also always considered himself still within the Church, even though his later actions set an otherwise example.
The Halloween of my sophomore year, I wore my Catholic Society shirt and went around wishing people a Happy Reformation Day. I enjoyed the mixed reactions. Halloween is admittedly a jejune holiday, full of fun and lacking in substance. But then again, so is celebrating Reformation Day. To me, it is like praising the French Revolution, which undermined the current system of government only to replace it in a horrible and bloody way. It was as “for the people” as it was not a power struggle. Luther wanted reform within the Church, but in the process he effectively snapped a tree branch, off of which fell hundreds of acorns, from which grew little trees. My friend Trevor had a good post on this as well.
Nonetheless, the Catholic Church considers two days after October 31st much more important. Today is All Saints’ Day*. Tomorrow is All Souls’ Day. Today we pray for and to the saints for their intercession, and tomorrow we pray for the souls of the faithfully departed and all those in Purgatory to aid in their getting to Heaven. Today is also a day of holy obligation, which means all practicing Catholics will attend mass at some point today. Today’s mass contains one of my favorites prayers—the litany of saints. The litany of saints is a sung prayer, upon which we ask for the invocation of the Triune God, Mary, the Mother of God, the martyrs and saints of the Church and finally, all holy men and women.
Here is a video of a processional at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. This one is nice because it gives a little intro and is just beautiful: