Yesterday was All Saints Day and today is All Souls Day. Here in Italy they are National Holiday. Norah's preschool is closed.
I grew up attending a Church of God church. I never really felt like we had many traditions or ceremonies, I mean we would take communion sometimes and we'd do a foot washing on occasion, but those never felt quite as ceremonious as what I had heard about the Catholic church. I once went to a Catholic Wedding and they held a Mass; that was pomp and circumstance. That felt like something important.
I always felt like we were just a little bit off from the other religions that had ceremony. They had Altar Boys and special classes. We didn't have that. On one hand I liked the relaxed way the church service was, but I longed for the kneelers and special incense. Which is funny as I was taught that incense burners and lighting candles for the dead were evil. I was taught a lot of strange things. Things like playing D & D was evil. Listening to rock music was evil. Celebrating Halloween was evil. If you smoked you were a sinner. If you drank you were a sinner. If you cursed you were a sinner. If you wore too much make-up, you were a sinner. The list was endless.
I remember being shocked out of my skin the first time I realized that Catholic people could drink a glass of wine and no one looked twice. I saw a Catholic priest at a base chapel event have a glass of wine in the O-Club...I was literally floored! You would NEVER see a Church of God preacher even look at a glass of wine without condemnation.
Wow, how did I get here from talking about holidays here in Italy. Oh, that's right; Italy is a Catholic country and these Holidays are Catholic Christian Holidays and then my train of thought went to why I don't attend organized religious gatherings. I may get into that on another day; it's long and complicated and I'm not sure it even would make sense to anyone else.
Back to the Holidays, I think it's remarkable that the belief that one's deceased ancestors look over them and bring them gifts is still alive today. I love that they are preserving a relationship with family members long gone. Long live traditions and ceremonies!