Friday, November 02, 2012

All Souls Day: Day of the Dead

Dancing with the dead.
It's All Souls Day, also known as "The Day of the Dead" or Dia de Los Muertos.

Today we honor those loved ones who gone before us, and those spirits who travel with us, in us, around us, every day -- the spirits, angels and saints, whom we also honored yesterday, All Saints Day.

As noted by Tom Waits, "They say that life itself is really just the dead on vacation."

And somebody named Pierre de Chardin is quoted by Oprah (yeah, really) as saying, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience."

Cut us a break, it's a good quote.  Or, as the late, great Myron Cope would say, "Mazel tov! Yoi!"

Which brings us to New York.  Or New Jersey, which is where the Steelers play on Sunday.  May the souls of the people who perished in the storms and flooding and fires of the past week or so find some sort of peaceful repose.

Hey, souls of the departed, here's something: Consider yourselves invited, and welcome, to join Joey Porter's Pit Bulls as we watch the game on Sunday.  Come over on Saturday, for that matter: You can help us hand out treats on Saturday evening to the storm-delayed Halloween trick 'or treaters.

Mayor Bloomberg: What took so long?  Really.  What took so long to make the right decision to cancel the New York City Marathon?

For that matter, we're surprised the Steelers-Giants game is still on.  It seems to be.  As much as we love football, we're not entirely convinced this game should be played on Sunday.  In fact, we're not at all convinced.  No.  Not at all.  It doesn't seem right.  Maybe it will do some good, somehow.  But, still.

For what it's worth, the celebration of Hallowed Eve dates more than 2,000 years to ancient Ireland and Scotland. The Celts believed their departed family and friends returned home during harvest time to eat and drink before going to heaven. Being harvest time, food was more plentiful, and some was left out in the evening for the souls of The Departed.

Being who they are, the Irish and Scots viewed it as cause for celebration. Thus, it was in Ireland,  Scotland and England that All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) became a combination of merriment and prayer; prayer and merriment.

Following the break with the Holy See, however, England’s Queen Elizabeth forbade all observances connected with All Souls' Day. Tight-ass, no-fun prude, she was, and probably not a Steelers' fan..

Eventually, kids started dressing like ghosts, goblins, witches, etc, to have fun and play along with the notion of the dead returning to their homes. The pranksters would demand treats of neighbors … or, you guessed it, threaten to play some sort mischievous "trick" on them.  Which is what we all try to avoid.

Soul, soul, an apple or two,
If you haven't an apple, a pear will do,

One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for the Man Who made us all.