I grew up in a household that doesn’t celebrate Halloween. It’s not exactly a big childhood thing I missed, the idea of decorating your house and dressing up to look scary and buying buckets full of sweet candies for kids sounded too foreign to me. Though as an adult, and especially at work, I softened to this tradition, I would’ve been an obvious killjoy if I was the only one not in costume or pitching in for trick or treats.
On the occasion of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day, what I do recall is this recurring and constant talk of the sacred rule of “not forgetting.” Our elders, my mother back then included, will remind us to find time, no give time actually, to our loved ones who passed away. That means going to the cemetery, no matter the distance or the unforgiving crowd, and spend a day or two, even overnight, with all family members in attendance, to remember the dearly departed. Perhaps, the reason why the first two days of November are always a holiday off.
And this happens once a year, missing it could mean bad luck or two, at least that’s what the elders say. And so you really shouldn’t forget.
If circumstances prevent you from making it to the cemetery, there’s another common practice though. You set your departed’s photo frame on an altar and offer his or her favorite food and drinks. With a bouquet of flowers and scented candles, you say your whispered prayers.
And what a sight when 6 o’clock hits, as most houses will be fronted with several candles lit for each loved ones lost. You wait until all candles are done, or kids will collect the wax and turn it into a big ball.
A sea of remembrance is what I call it. The street is brightly lit because we remembered. We look back at the memories, may be a mix of happy and sad recollections, the important thing is we didn’t forget. Once it’s turned the usual dark, it’s as if declaring that’ll be for another year.
Well, you don’t have to wait for Halloween. Whatever the occasion, keep their fondest of memories in your heart.
By not forgetting, I’d like to think all our loved ones are looking above us with a big smile.