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With snow on the ground and Halloween behind us, it appears that retailers would like us to be full steam ahead for the holidays. Stores are already decked out with their holiday decorations and most of them were that way well in advance of Halloween. I say it every year to my kids, give me a list — tell me what you want because I don’t want to get caught up in the craziness that becomes the holiday season. Today is November 1st and in the blink of an eye, we will be turning the calendar yet again.

Central Cemetery on All Souls' Day

Image by rwhgould via Flickr

Today and tomorrow are the holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day — reflection and recollection of those who are no longer with us. It is hard to embark on the journey that ends with Christmas and New Years without reflecting and remembering those who are no longer present to share those holidays with us. In my own world, Christmas and my dad are pretty much one in the same; it is hard to not think about him during the holiday season. Christmas was indeed his favorite holiday, Christmas Eve was the night he proposed to my mother and he was such a kid with presents. In many cultures and countries, on November 2nd people visit the graves of their deceased relatives to remember and reflect. My dad’s grave is hundreds of miles from where I live today, but he and my grandparents will be remembered as if I were there putting flowers on the spots where they rest.

As we enter the beginning of the race toward the holidays pause to remember what the holiday season is all about. Friends and family — those that make us smile, regardless of where they may be today.

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Welcome to the last day of October — All Hallow’s Eve. Samhain, the Celtic New Year was celebrated on November 1st. Celebrations began on the night before and since it was a time during which the pagans believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was the thinnest, it was also thought of as a time when communication between the world of the living and the world of the dead was possible. When Christianity came through, the holiday of Samhain was transformed into its Christian skin and known as All Saint’s Day, November 2nd became All Soul’s Day . Hallowmas is Old English for All Saint’s Day and the night before was deemed All Hallow’s Eve or eventually, the Halloween as we know it.

Jack-o-latern

Image via Wikipedia

Tonight, a few towns over from us, there will be the annual Rutland Halloween Parade. The parade is celebrating its 52nd year this year and is considered one of the largest, if not the largest, Halloween Parade in the United States. I must say that it is one cool parade. If you ever have the opportunity, I suggest that you take it in. Traditionally, the parade is always held on Halloween itself, regardless of the day of the week that it falls on. This year, the parade was to be held on Saturday, October 29th. The snowstorm that overtook much of the East Coast saw to putting it back in its rightful place — late Saturday afternoon, the powers that be deemed that the parade would be postponed and held on…..you guessed it…. Halloween.

Not good for my brother and his family who traveled up to see the parade and couldn’t stay until Monday for it — but good that it wasn’t canceled all together. That only happened once in 1962 – before my time.  This year’s parade will honor the heroes of Tropical Storm Irene — the policemen, rescue workers, firemen and construction folks who are considered by a great many here to be real superheros. Just like Humpty Dumpty they’re the ones that helped to put Vermont back together again after one of its biggest disasters. Tonight, I can imagine that they will be the folks commanding the biggest cheers.

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