By JULLIE Y. DAZA
Happy Halloween! In the old days when we were young, the short season of remembering the dear departed was known as “todos los santos,” the English translation being All Saints Day. These days the kids, they who rule our lives and whose lives rule our hours and days, prefer to mark All Saints (Nov. 1) and All Souls (Nov. 2) with costume parties and neighborhood trick-or-treating. Meanwhile, I wish I knew where “Undas” came from. Is it a Tagalog word and where is it rooted? In custom and tradition, or religion?
As usual, priests and pastors call out against the secularization of two holy days that could be better spent in prayer and with less revelry, especially when evil spirits like the devil, ghosts, witches and spooks are portrayed as playful characters when the truth is they should scare the h— out of you. The clergy ask, and rightly so, instead of imitating the look of frightful goblins and ghouls, why not put the holy saints of virtue in the center of the fun?
Why not, indeed? I have an answer but it may not be the correct one nor will it sit well with theologians. For starters, I would be more scared to look like a saint, many of whom died horrible deaths – by crucifixion, decapitation, being fed to lions, burned at the stake, stoned, speared, etc. Martyrdom was the way to heaven, a process that continues to be relevant today, with modern popes affirming that dying for the faith is a sure sign of saintliness.
Beware, children, my opinion is not infallible, don’t take my word for it. However, I do want to find out what kids think they know about death and dying, where they get their ideas from. You could say we’re all dying to explain the last mystery, for not even the Bible provides clues of Lazarus’ trip to the afterlife after Jesus raised him from the dead. The last mystery of life is the mystery of death.
It’s also a mystery, that in the age of social media young people are ending their lives for reasons of depression and bullying. Love in the time of dengue spurns the Romeo-and-Juliet syndrome — does romance no longer count? ###