For many years, Filipinos have celebrated this day as the Day of the Dead. Technically, it’s supposed to be All Saints’ Day according to the Catholic calendar, with November 2 being All Souls’ Day. The latter is a holiday in the Roman Church, and it is:
“The commemoration of all the faithful departed is celebrated by the Church on 2 November, or, if this be a Sunday or a solemnity, on 3 November. The Office of the Dead must be recited by the clergy and all the Masses are to be of Requiem, except one of the current feast, where this is of obligation.
The theological basis for the feast is the doctrine that the souls which, on departing from the body, are not perfectly cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for past transgressions, are debarred from the Beatific Vision, and that the faithful on earth can help them by prayers, almsdeeds and especially by the sacrifice of the Mass.” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01315b.htm)
So you have two days to remember the dead, the first to remember the canonized saints, and the second day to remember the rest. I say “rest” because, really, what Catholic in his right mind will not declare that his dead relative wasn’t faithful. The guy could have been a serial killer and he’d still have relatives remembering him on Nov. 2.
Another thing, most people I know don’t really give a hoot whether or not this day is for that saint or whatever. They go to the cemeteries on Nov. 1 (or sometimes earlier) and do things other than remember the dead. They go somewhere else for vacation on Nov. 2. (This year’s Nov. 1 & 2 is a long weekend, so I expect less people in the cemeteries.)
Today, my beloved M and I will be going to Sanctuarium with our relatives. We’re going to “visit” my late grandmother, whose ashes are interred in a little box on the sixth floor. One good thing about this date is that it reminds one of his mortality, which has been deadened by the “spiritual Novocaine” (thanks to Dr. James White for that term) of our day. When one is reminded of his mortality, thoughts of God and judgment are never far behind.
Food for thought.