CONTRARY to what most people think, the way we practice All Souls’ Day, which has come to be called “Undas” only in recent years, wasn’t a creation of Catholicism nor is it a practice among Catholics all over the world.
Only Mexico, the Philippines, Brazil — and in less intense forms, a few other Latin American countries — celebrate the Day of the Dead in the way we know it; that is, one day of the year when people go to the cemeteries to honor their dead. “Todos Los Santos” to us, this was an import from Hispanic Mexico, the reproduction here of its Dia de los Muertos.
Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter in the privacy of their homes with their families. Why would they commemorate their dead, who obviously passed away at different days of the year on one particular day when everyone does so and undertake this in one crowded place with strangers — crowds — all around them; thus, diminishing the solemnity of commemorating their loved ones?
The absurdity of the practice has become so obvious as our population has swelled, and more and more die, so more and more people visit their dear departed in cemeteries, which obviously have not grown in size, creating mammoth crowds in these places on November 1 that risk people’s safety.(more…)