Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Hallows' Eve - All Saints' Day - All Souls' Day - Venice Blog

Flames from Burning Candles by: Photos8.org
(Venice, Italy) This evening is All Hallows' Eve, the night before Hallowmass, better known as Halloween, the evening before All Saints' Day. This year, the full moon a few days ago caused All Sorts of Havoc, contributing to extreme storms All Over the Earth, including Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the East Coast of the United States of America.

CREDIT: NASA GOES Project
Here in Venice, we have been experiencing acqua alta on and off; today happens to be an "on" day with rain and extreme high water expected this evening.

The ancient Celts believed that during this time of year the veil between this world and the Otherworld became thin, allowing spirits -- both dark and light -- to pass through more easily. So, tomorrow, Wednesday, November 1, we have All Saints' Day for the saintly spirits, and the day after, on Thursday, November 2, we have All Souls' Day for everybody else. Some say that the Venetian gondola resembles a boat on the River Styx...

Gondola Ride on the River Styx
I have written about this time of year before, an "evergreen" piece back on Sunday, October 31, 2010, which I will share with you again:

The Island of the Dead

Gods' aid, let not my bones lie in a public location
With crowds too assiduous in their crossing of it;
For thus are tombs of lovers most desecrated.
May a woody and sequestered place cover me with its foliage
Or may I inter beneath the hummock
of some as yet uncatalogued sand;
At any rate I shall not have my epitaph in a high road.
---from Homage to Sextus Propertius by Ezra Pound

(Venice, Italy) That image is of the Island of San Michele, where Venice buries her dead. November 1 is All Saints' Day and November 2 is All Souls' Day, or the Day of the Dead, here in Italy. There is a free shuttle vaporetto out to San Michele and back so everyone can tend to the tombs. The American poet Ezra Pound is buried here in Venice on the Island of the Dead, and also happened to die here in Venice, most remarkably, on the Day of the Dead, two days after his 87th birthday on October 30, 1972.


Today is October 31, or Halloween, which has been one of my favorite holidays ever since I was a child. When I lived in Los Angeles, I would spend a good week decorating my house with dead bodies and skeletons, and setting up a proper graveyard under the white birch tree. I attracted kids from miles around, and some adults, too.

In fact, the first year I moved into the house in Los Feliz, back in 1988 before it was properly furnished, my sister and I decorated every room with a different spooky theme: the coffin room, the fortune teller room, etc. and threw a huge party complete with sound effects and lighting -- I even got the Frankenstein monster from Universal Studios to come, since he was a friend of mine. It was all in good fun, and there was certainly nothing religious about it, more like a Disneyland Haunted Mansion theme. To me, any holiday that can inspire Serious White Men to get creative, dress up in costumes and loosen up a bit is providing a service to mankind. One of my favorite costumes was worn by a fellow who was normally very... uptight. He dressed all in white and carried a big black felt marker, calling himself "Graffiti Man," and had people sign his clothes all night. To me, Halloween in the States is more similar to Carnival in Venice than it is to the Day of the Dead.
When I first arrived in Venice in 1998, I had one of the few carved pumpkins around, and there were no celebrations except a small one in Campo Santa Margherita with the students. Halloween has been slowly growing more popular, with shop windows filled with cobwebs and witches.

This is what the Catholics think about that:

Please click HERE to continue reading Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog - The Island of the Dead.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. This evening is All Hallow's Eve, the night before Hallowmass, better known as Halloween, the evening before All Saints' Day. This year, the full moon a few days ago caused All Sorts of Havoc, contributing to extreme storms All Over the Earth, including Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the East Coast of the United States of America.

    ReplyDelete