Celebrating Family History Month
October is for Celebrating Family History Month; and you still have time. Have you completed a DNA search for your roots? If so, Celebrating Family History Month can be more fun when you discover and celebrate the cultures your ancestors were part of.
I am 31 percent Scandinavian. With dark brown hair, dark brown eyes and olive skin, how can I be Scandinavian? Well, I also have Hispanic heritage, too. My grandmother, an espanole, married a Swede from Stockholm! How can I connect these two very different cultures?
Here’s how. There is a Swedish All Saints’ Day, which coincides with the Mexican Dia de los Muertos. These two cultural celebrations are part of my ancestral heritage. The people who made the journey before us, whether they were heroes or villains, famous or infamous, are part of who we are. If we study their culture of origin, we know more about them.
Every culture has ways to honor their dead. Anciently, they put them in urnfields, or in caves with cultural artifacts, or they simply wrapped them in cloth and left their remains in sacred places. These are rituals, which become part of culture. Why? When our loved ones depart from life, we still yearn for them in ways, which are not well understood. We are human. This is what we do.
The Swedish All Saints’ Day is a relatively new holiday in Sweden. With increased mixing with Catholic cultures, there was a demand to create a holiday, which all could celebrate. All Saints’ Day was put on the Swedish calendar in 1952; and it is celebrated on the Saturday after October 30. According to Traditional Festivities in Sweden by Ingemar Liman, “Families lay wreaths and flowers on the graves of loved ones. As night falls, graveyards are aglow with twinkling candles and lanterns.”
A day or two after October 30, is Dia de los Muertos, which is also All Soul’s and All Saints’ Day in Mexico. These celebrations are a combination of indigenous and Spanish-Catholic beliefs honoring the dead. It is said, “. . . the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all the deceased children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours.” Follow this link to learn more.
Halloween, in the United States, has traditional beginnings rooted in antediluvian cultures. However, it has evolved to scare us of our dead, rather than honoring the dead. When next October comes around, and Halloween displays are visible, let it be a reminder to honor your dead ancestors. Celebrate their cultures, along with Celebrating Family History Month.
For more ways to celebrate Family History Month, check out this link at About Parenting: