Halloween is such a happy and almost frivolous holiday that people can often forget its more serious side: honoring your ancestors. Different faiths and different cultures have often honored the end of October or the first of November as a time to remember their ancestors: in Mexico there is El Día de los Muertos, for Roman Catholics, they celebrate All Souls Day, and many Pagan faiths honor those who have gone before at their Samhain rituals.
No matter what your ethnicity or your spiritual beliefs, you too can remember your beloved family members and even pets who have passed on. There are many different ways to honor those who have gone before you and they range from elaborate rituals such as The Dumb Supper to as simple as leaving flowers at family members gravesites.
• Visit the grave of your favorite family member and leave flowers. Feel free to include a little card or note for them in which you tell them about what has been going on in your life if you wish.
• You can set aside a space on a shelf where you put pictures of beloved family members and pets and surround it with flowers. You can also include candles and perhaps food offerings the way those who celebrate The Day of the Dead or Samhain do, but that’s optional.
• Depending on how spiritually inclined you are, all faiths can benefit from lighting a candle and saying a prayer for your ancestors.
• Cooking a beloved family member’s favorite meal is an excellent way to honor someone’s memory.
• Get together with family and friends and swap funny stories about those who have gone before and celebrate their lives with laughter and love.
• A good way to remember deceased pets is to volunteer at a local pet adoption or animal shelter. You can always make a monetary donation to an animal shelter as well.
• Start researching your family tree-you might find some interesting tidbits about your family history!
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