Monday, November 10, 2008

The day of the deads

The last 2nd November was All Souls' Day. Catholic Christians pay homage to their passed away relatives on this day. They visit the crematory, decorate the grave with flowers and lit candles. They spend the evening in the memory of their near and dear ones who left them on the earth.

Theology of Purgatory is behind the observance of this ritual. It is believed that after the soul leaves the material body it awaits cleansing from its venial sins before God takes it into His Heaven. The faithfuls on the earth can help the soul in this state by prayers, almsdeeds and the sacrifice of the Mass. It is believed that, though praying for the dead is an ancient Christian tradition, the day and the ritual was made popular by the Abbot of Cluny, in 998AD, in his monasteries which gradually spread throughout the Catholic Church later days.

What is most striking to me is the fact that different communities with different religion also observe similar rituals in one way or the other. We Hindus, for example, have some special days throughout the year to pay homage to our deceased elders and the idea behind those rituals is to please those deceased souls and to bring them peace at Heaven. All these, it seems, somehow hint a common ancestry, a common origin, for all the religions and hence for all the human communities on the earth.

You can see more photographs of All Souls' Day in my web album.

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