Tonight our family did Family Home Evening instead of on the night of Halloween. Tomorrow will be our activity for the lesson: Why do we celebrate Halloween?
Of course, the activity will be trick or treating in the neighborhood and setting out our carved pumpkins, and this evening we discussed the origins and meaning of Halloween, and how it connects to the LDS understanding of the gospel.
The lesson went something like this:
My 4 year old was asked and answered the question; Why do we celebrate Halloween? His answers centered on getting candy (big surprise). He did have some creative answers to why people started giving out candy in the first place, however.
I went on to explain about that Samhain is the Sabbat half way between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice. We are starting to notice the days getting shorter, we are moving into times when it seems like there is more dark than light each day. Its an indication that we are heading to the darkest day of the year. We can observe this change in the season by recognizing this change and participating in the ancient celebration. Our Halloween pumpkins are lit with candles to light up the night.
Its also the time of year that it is believed that the veil is thinnest between the living and spirit world. Its the time of year when we can remember our deceased loved ones and ancestors. We then mentioned the people in our lives who have died in our lifetimes: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, great grandparents, neighbors and how we look forward to seeing them again when we are in the spirit world with them. Until that time, sometimes we experience dreams when they visit and talk to us. Both my husband and I have experienced this so we have stories to tell.
Those spirit we know and love are not limited to those we knew on earth but also include our ancestors. My husband described what we know about our lineage and nationalities. Having completed family history on both sides of the family pretty far back, we know stories of some of our ancestors which we hope to teach our children over the years.
We then closed with the children's song "Family History- I Am Doing It!" from the Children's Songbook.
I love the lyrics of the song. They are perfect for Pagan Mormons to connect this time of year to temple work and ancestor reverence, especially the second verse:
"Fam’ly living now and the ones who’ve died
Can all be sealed to me,
And someday I’ll meet ev’ry one of them,
I’m sure as I can be.
Oh what joy we’ll have when they say to me,
“We’re all a family.
I am yours and you are mine now,
Through all eternity."
My ward choir had been planning to sing this for their October performance but unfortunately scheduling and illness prevented it. What a wonderful way to teach children and the many modern day people who not realize that the origins of Halloween are so compatible with gospel principles.
Tuesday, I hope to do more on remembering our ancestors. That would probably be the perfect night to do the National Genographic DNA test kit I was given for my birthday... I'm open to ideas. How do you teach your children about their ancestors? What special things can you think of to do on All Hallows Day or Dia de la Muerta with your young children?