Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

The Day of the Dead

Politics-Other, Religion

In the Catholic tradition of the Christian faith any number of feast days are celebrated throughout the year.

One of these sacred feasts is today.  All Souls Day.

It is on this day that devout Catholics pray for those who are in Purgatory. 

Purgatory?  Never heard of it.  What's that all about?

In Catholicism purgatory is sort of like a way-station located between heaven and hell.  It works like this.

First of all, you have to be dead.

If you were really, really bad while on earth your soul will go straight to hell. 

On the other hand, If you have led a saintly life on earth your soul will go directly to heaven. 

If you are dead, and if like most of us you led a less than perfect life, your soul will spend some time in purgatory.  After all the small sins are washed away you get to go to heaven.

I know it sounds complicated, and even some Catholics don't believe the Church's teachings on this topic, but that's basically how it works.

To give you an idea of how important this day is - it is one of only a handful of days that Catholic priests are allowed to lead three Masses.  Ordinarily, the rules allow only two daily Masses to be said.

Nowadays, the Church combines All Souls Day (November 2) with All Saints Day (November 1) and the month of November is devoted to prayer for those who have gone before.

Today also happens to be The Day of The Dead.

From Tom and Jill's Wedding

The indigenous people, that previously occupied what now constitutes Mexico, used to observe a month-long ritual celebrating death and rebirth during the ninth month of the Aztec Solar Calendar.  

Early Spanish missionaries, in an attempt to convert the native peoples to Christianity, moved the scheduling of this event to coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day.  This way the ghastly pagan ritual would receive a thoroughly Christian makeover.

Those missionaries did a really good job. 

Modern day celebrants of  Día de los Muertos engage in unmistakably Christian practices such as leaving a deceased loved one's favorite meal, maybe a bottle of tequila, toys or some other token at the grave site of the departed.  

Hosting a picnic at the cemetery is actually rather popular.  You might also build an alter in your home devoted to those who have gone before.  Sometimes there is revelry which allows the celebrant the opportunity to sneer at death and look it straight in the eye.

Another way you can look death in the eye and celebrate (depending upon your point of view) rebirth or release from purgatory is to vote.

It's election day.


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