Date: Thu, 3 Nov 1994 15:06:26 EST


Subject: American Culture and All Saints & All Souls Days

The last posting about the cultural differences between North American and

Mexican celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day jogged my jaded

memory and put me in a time when those days were more meaningful--days when

I was under the power of Presentation nuns from Ireland. Halloween was, of

course, Halloween--trick or treat, bubble gum in locks, water balloons, and

all the fun of grease paint and sneaking out a pillow case instead of the

dumb grocery bag my mother wanted us to use to hold our candy and bruised

mushy apples. But All Saints Day was a holiday from school, a bright sunny

southcentral Texas day to eat candy in the yard while numerous bees tried

to steal the last bit of sweetness they could before a blue norther came

down from the hill country and chased them into winter hiding. Sugar-hyped

kids would then attend evening mass with their families in the dark

November night. All Souls Day was a special dark day of repentance

following the orgy of Halloween and the brightness of the liturgical

readings of All Saints Day. It seems to me that we were allowed to stay in

the church on that day as long as we wanted in order to pray for the souls

in purgatory. The prayers were prefaced with pleas from the nuns about the

suffering going on there that could be alleviated through our efforts. Our

hands still sticky with candy, we placed them together in the gesture of

reverence and tried to help the people from the awful fire. Whew!

We didn't have picnics on dead folks' graves, but we had a cultural experience.

P.S. Our lab school here at my college cannot celebrate Halloween with the

small children because some parents object to demon worship, etc. The

children celebrate Harvest, dress up as storybook characters, and visit

offices that invite the children to come get candy.

Culture changes.

Wayne Glowka

Professor of English

Director of Research and Graduate Student Services

Georgia College

Milledgeville, GA 31061