Presentation on theme: "Cultural Ritual Experience & Presentation St. Therese Parish Hispanic ~ Day of the Dead Observed October 31, 2012 By a friend of St Therese."— Presentation transcript:
Cultural Ritual Experience & Presentation St. Therese Parish Hispanic ~ Day of the Dead Observed October 31, 2012 By a friend of St Therese.
The celebration began at 6:30 pm in the evening starting with a Parish service and then the congregation moved into the Activity Center. There were multiple tables filling the room, set in rows facing the stage for the video that is shown about the Day of the Dead, the movie was filmed in Mexico.
I arrived at St. Therese planning to meet my friend and her husband, Maria and Robb, joining us is a co-worker. Maria is the Parish Business Manager and she was dressed in her Day of the Dead costume. We thought it would be a fun experience to see what happens as the congregation celebrates the Day of the Dead and understand more fully about the reasoning behind the festivities.,
The holiday focuses on the gathering of families and friends to pray and remember those who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday. (1) In Mexico the celebration typically coincides with the Catholics holiday of All Saints Day on November 1 st, the deceased children are honored and on the 2 nd deceased adults are honored. At St. Therese they celebrated this Holiday on October 31, 2012 through November 4, (2)
A traditional aspect of the holiday is to build a private altar/small shrine or visit the grave to honor those loved ones that have passed away to visit with their souls. The items on the altar or grave could include favorite things or possessions of the departed. They may also be items such as pictures of the deceased, a Christian cross, statues or pictures of the Blessed Mary, memorabilia, toys, trinkets, food, drink, sugar or chocolate skulls, many candles, short poems and flowers/orange Mexican marigolds. At St. Therese they are placed in a colorful and festive arrangement. (3)
St. Therese had altars that were lovingly decorated by parishioners of the congregation with all of the items listed above that pertained to their deceased on the sanctuary tables and expanding onto the floor. I was warmly welcomed and I enjoyed the fun festivities of the night.
Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous cultural observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl…celebrating the deaths of ancestors had been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 3000 years. Skulls were commonly kept as trophies and displayed during rituals to symbolize death and rebirth. (4) World View
Catrinas is one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico also known as Lady of the Dead. (3) With the common symbol of the holiday celebration being a skull. Jeremy, son of Carlos Herrera, St. Therese Hispanic Priest, is dressed for the festivities.
Traditionally, the family spends time together with the intent to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers and the moments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed. (2) As seen in the picture on the left, St. Therese is warm and welcoming.
St. Therese had four altars in the building, two in the sanctuary and two in the Activity Center. Each decorated differently; two had primarily food displayed on each. At St. Theresa, symbolically the celebrators ate the food on the altar in front of the stage after the festivities were over. The food that was prepared for the Activity Center was to be eaten after the ceremony, it was handmade bread and a variety of food.
The stance of St. Therese is one of continuing with the Day of the Dead celebration but really focusing on the fact that our friends and loved ones are in Gods care and that He is and will take care of those individuals. When I walked into St. Therese it was a hustle and bustle of activity, both parents and children alike. All generations were in attendance to celebrate the Day of the Dead together located in the Activity Center. It was not only a childrens program, but a family program. I was listening to the introduction for the evening by MPhil Carlos Herrera ~ Hispanic Minister, to the congregation at St. Therese. I felt a deep sense of pride for the custom to be kept alive, that it was a personal celebration and custom that was signifying how special they were as an ethnic group away from their ancestral home. I had questions about the events of the night and Carlos Herrera filled in the blanks for me as I wanted to be very clear about the event.
Thank you for a Fun evening! I felt honored with the opportunity to attend this special time at St Therese. Carlos had mentioned that the Day of the Dead event is in relation to the saints honored in the Catholic religion. He said that their belief is a direct correlation to the fact that their aim is to be with God eternally. Even though loved ones have passed away they believe they are with God. Christian traditions are able to relate with loved ones not disappearing but alive with God, eternally. Carlos said that it is customary for several families that attend St Therese to also have their own Day of the Dead celebration, carrying on their family custom.
Sources: (1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead. Retrieved http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead (2) Palfrey, Dale Hoyt (1995). "The Day of the Dead". Día de los Muertos Index. Access Mexico Connect. Retrieved "The Day of the Dead" (3) Salvador, R. J. (2003). John D. Morgan and Pittu Laungani. ed. Death and Bereavement Around the World: Death and Bereavement in the Americas. Death, Value and Meaning Series, Vol. II hi. Amityville, New York: Baywood Publishing Company. pp. 75–76 Day Of The Dead? For Some People It Is Sad And For Other It Is A Holiday. Retrieved (4) Miller, Carlos (2005). "History: Indigenous people wouldn't let 'Day of the Dead' die". Day of the Dead Día De Los Muertos (The Arizona Republic). Retrieved "History: Indigenous people wouldn't let 'Day of the Dead' die"The Arizona Republic (5) St. Therese Bulletin, 213 E. Wisconsin Ave. Appleton, WI from October 28, 2012