All Saints’ Day (or All Hallows’ Day) is celebrated on 1st November after Halloween (or All Hallows’ Eve) and is a public holiday in some countries in Europe. By this time of the year, the weather is frosty so we could be waking up to icicles hanging from the roofs that just formed overnight. For most of us, it is just a normal day but in some Catholic countries families tend to spend this day with keeping an old tradition alive.
There are no pumpkins, sweets or fireworks involved. It’s quite a sad tradition in fact. People buy flowers, wreaths and candles and go to the cemetery in the evening to tidy up the graves of their loved ones and to light candles for them. It is something that most people are involved in so the evening becomes the rush hour of the day. When you pass a cemetery, all you can see is an endless sea of candlelight. The flames are rocking in the wind and create a blanket of fairy lights that covers the ground with light. It is a mesmerising picture really.
When you take a closer look at this picture, you notice the pixels becoming alive. You see people flocking to cemeteries, being busy tending to their candles, saying their prayers, holding one another’s hands. Everyone has their own prayer to say and has someone they loved to think of. There is sadness and there is fear, too. When you look into some people’s eyes, you can see the reflection of fear nestled into their hearts. Slowly this fear becomes visible by the tension it creates, stretching out like a giant cobweb connecting hearts and souls alike. The past, the present and the future become just one moment of mourning. People are mourning not only their lost relatives but somehow their own lives, too: the missed opportunities, the decisions they never made, the flights they never took, the feelings they never expressed and the words they never said. However, underneath this veil of sadness there is light, too. The sea of candlelight is there as a reminder that there is hope for those who are still alive – to live a life being alive.
Needless to say, we don’t have to take part in this tradition to find fear in our hearts as constant reminders are being whispered into our ears such as not achieving enough, not doing enough, not being enough and not ever catching ourselves being content and happy enough. We get caught up in the rat race and after some time we find ourselves lost in a maze of never-ending pursuits for things we believe we need as they must hold the key to our happiness. For some of us, it is more money to buy more things with, for others it is a better role played in a make-believe masquerade we call work. These leave our egos satisfied but our hearts, not so much.
So how about lighting a candle tonight, just for you, just for your heart and truly listen? I know it is not easy to silence the mind and access what’s been silenced for a long time in your heart. Allow the unplanned and the unexpected to unfold as the desire for the life you are meant to live is the very spark that sets your candle alight. Where there is spark, there is fire. Where there is fire, there is light to chase away the ghosts of the icicles of fear surrounding your heart..