It’s Hallowtide week and you know what that means: there will be ‘visitors‘ — and they will need to be entertained.
Posted byA.L. Eleftherios
Posted on31 October 2014
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Basically, Undras (or “Undas”) is Día de los Muertos for the majority of Filipinos. It’s not as ‘festive’ as its Latin American cousin–no parades, no costumes, no sugar skulls–but it’s certainly one of the busiest times of the year.
Supposedly a corruption of the Spanish honrar (to honour), Undras is both a religio-cultural and secular bank holiday in the Philippines, reserved for honouring one’s dearly departed. Whilst the local Catholic Church has long discouraged the practice of ancestral veneration on a festival ‘supposedly’ dedicated to the Church’s deceased holy men, nobody really cares. The ancestors get both All Saints and All Souls to themselves. My pagan heart rejoices.
(See the full album here.)
Hail, beloved and honoured Dead! When it is time for us to join you, may we do so with pride. But until that glorious time, may we live through our long years in health and happiness, peace and plenty, and many victorious deeds.
Okay, so I never really cared for that meme. It may, however, have use for me on this particular Thursday, which happens to be a traditional time in many cultures for looking back and honouring those who came before.
Speaking of looking back, here’s the ultimate “throwback” meditation. You wanted to honour your ancestors? Well, here’s your chance to honour yours and mine, all at the same time.
For the more culturally specific Pagan, there’s Samhain/Samhuinn/Samonios for Celts and Celtophiles (which we ex-Wiccans are all too familiar with) and there’s also Winternights and Alfablót for the Heathens and Germanophiles. I’m not really sure if there are any others in other parts of the world during this time. There’s Día de los Muertos for sure, but that falls more under syncretic.
Speaking of syncretism, what I celebrate is actually a very syncretic holiday in itself. It draws mostly from the Catholic All Saints and All Souls (and thus, from Samhain indirectly), but it has very strong elements from Hellenic Anthestêria, Roman Parentalia, and Egyptian Wag, too.
Why not just celebrate honouring the Dead in February being more Graeco-Roman than anything? Well, as someone who lives in a country where All Saints (called Undras in my town) is a bank holiday–so people can flock to cemeteries and party with their deceased–it’s hard not to join in. I don’t celebrate Halloween, but if I had lived in the US, I would probably be making jack-o’-lanterns, too. It’s all about community and what makes ‘sense’ to the land.
Fortunately, this year’s “Nights of Remembrance” (which is what I call this syncretic event) fall conveniently on the 26th, 27th, and 28th of the lunar month (unlike last year’s not-so-convenient date).
During this time, we remember our departed; those dear, those honoured, and those we do not know. We will remember, not only departed humans, but also other animals and plant-life, including those we have consumed. May these days of remembrance also remind us of our own mortality, the importance of a well-lived life, and the eternal connection between beings that cannot be severed by death.
Okay, so I just got home from a 14 hour work-day (4 hours of which is travel time from my town to the big city). Exhausting, as usual, but I don’t dread it a bit. It’s a good paying job, it helps people, and I’m surrounded by a bunch of amazing individuals.
As promised, here’s what went on during our super extended “All Hallows”, when the Veil is thinnest, when the spirits of our departed — according to our belief — are granted free passes into our world as our honoured guests.
Why, I decided to make it a long holiday to bridge the two calendars (civic and lunar) was because I didn’t feel comfortable choosing which to follow with regard to such a large and important event. If I had chosen the lunar date, I would’ve missed out on a large communal event. If I had chosen the civic date, then what am I celebrating the cycles of the moon for? So, I chose both. ANYWAY.
First Night of Remembering: 31 October / 16 Pyanepsion, night after the full moon
Third Night of Remembering: 2 November / 18 Pyanepsion
3 November / 19 Pyanepsion
4 November / 20 Pyanepsion, 10 days before the new moon
The Last Night, when the old meets the new: 14 November / 29 Pyanepsion, last day of the lunar month
Last day before the rise of the New Moon, the Veil closes
It’s the last day of the month of Pyanepsiôn (Πυανεψιών) and I just woke up (I work the nights). It’s a special hena-kai-nea (last day of the month) tonight because not only is it Hekatê’s traditional dinner, but also a feast to close the series of ancestral rites that ran from All Hallows Eve through tonight.
It was a personal choice to extend the traditional ancestral rites because of the calendars my household follows (both the civic Gregorian and the lunar Athenian). The coming month is also when we raise up our Holiday Tree and welcome Amihan, the indigenous personification of the northeast wind.
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