In every culture of the world, the dead are treated with reverence. Souls from the other world will begin to take revenge, in every possible way complicating a person's life in this world.
That is why in many world cultures there are holidays of commemoration of deceased ancestors. The most famous such holidays will be discussed below.
All Saints Day and Memorial Day for Souls. These holidays are religious in the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, respectively. They are celebrated on the first and second of November, immediately after the ancient holiday of Halloween, which has Celtic roots. At this time, crowds of kids in scary costumes are running through the streets and demanding food from passers-by. All Saints' Day is a national holiday in many countries. Its roots go back to the times of early Christianity. In 609, Pope Boniface IV officially ordered all unknown martyrs to be venerated on this day. And the next day after this holiday, believers began to remember the dead, whose souls are located in purgatory. It is believed that the prayers of the living help to atone for minor sins, thanks to which souls quickly get into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Feast Bon. This national Japanese holiday is over 500 years old. On this day, in the land of the Rising Sun, honors are offered to deceased ancestors. According to Buddhist traditions, the holiday begins on August 15 and lasts for three whole days. No one grieves on the Feast of Bon. These days are dedicated to games, fireworks, performances and dancing. According to legend, this holiday was organized by the Buddha himself. Once a man, while meditating, asked God for help. The man dreamed of a deceased mother, who was seized by hungry spirits and began to torment. Then the Buddha advised this man to honor the monks who had just completed their summer meditation. They say that the deceased mother received peace, and the delighted man expressed his happiness by dancing.
Chuseok. This holiday in South Korea is one of the most important. For three whole days people thank the dead for a bountiful harvest. In the country, it is customary these days to travel to their native places in order to do some rituals there in the morning. Among them, the most famous is the preparation of songpehyun rice cakes. They are then eaten, thereby remembering their ancestors. People also come to churches, where they order services for deceased relatives. People visit the graves to look after them. Then the Koreans start the fun itself - they drink, dance, treat themselves.
Gayatra. This holiday is also called the holiday of the Cow. It is celebrated for eight whole days in August-September in Nepal. During the celebration, a whole procession of cows passes through the city centers. They are accompanied by those people who have lost someone close to them over the past year. If the family does not have its own cow, then it is represented by a boy dressed with this dairy animal. The choice of the cow is not accidental - it is considered sacred in Hinduism. Beliefs say that with the help of this animal, the deceased can get into the afterlife. A carefree celebration helps people to look at death more calmly, realizing its inevitability and reality.
Qingming. This Chinese national holiday is also known as Grave Cleaning Day or Ancestor Day. It is celebrated in mid-April. Millions of people go to the graves of their deceased relatives, clean them up and remember the dead. In China, it is customary on the Qingming holiday to leave things on the graves that may be useful in the afterlife - tea, food, incense. The holiday is quite ancient - it began to be celebrated back in 732 during the era of the emperors of the Tang dynasty. At the same time, honors are given to those people who died during significant events in the history of the country.
Pitri paksha. This holiday according to Hindu traditions is celebrated for fifteen days in the month of Ashvin. People celebrate their ancestor by bringing food to temples and performing sacred rituals. According to local mythology, once the soul of the deceased warrior Karn reached heaven. But there was only gold and nothing from food. Karna felt hungry and asked the goddess Indra to give him food. The deity replied that now Karna can only eat gold, for during his life he did not offer food to his departed ancestors. The cunning warrior persuaded the goddess to return back to Earth, where for fifteen days he rendered water and food to his deceased relatives.
Day of the Dead in Mexico. This holiday has a close connection with All Saints' Day and Memorial Day. The fact is that the Day of the Dead in Mexico is also celebrated on November 1st or 2nd. The celebration became famous all over the world, smiling skeletons already recognizable everywhere became its symbol. In Mexico, the whole country celebrates the Day of the Dead, it is truly a national holiday. It is celebrated not only here, but also in the United States, and even in the Philippines. And the origins of the holiday go from celebrating the beginning of the harvest from the Aztecs. It was believed that the goddess Mictlansihuatl, who also patronized the dead, was responsible for this. In Mexico, the very concept of the holiday is not at all associated with fear and horror, as on Halloween. Traditionally, people these days feast and have fun.
Lemuralia. This holiday was celebrated in ancient Rome. His goal was to appease the souls of the dead and help them get to heaven. The Romans also tried to ward off evil spirits from their homes. To cleanse the home, on this day, the head of the family had to wake up at midnight and wash his hands three times. Then the owner walked barefoot around his house and threw beans over his shoulder, saying: "I send these beans and with them I buy myself and my property."
Festival of spirits. This is not just a celebration of spirits, but of hungry spirits. In China, it is celebrated on the fifteenth night of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. This whole month is considered the month of spirits, it is believed that at this time it is especially easy for spirits and ghosts to penetrate the world of the living. This time is given to ghosts to visit their descendants living on Earth. Buddhist and Taoist traditions consider this night to be a solemn one, when the suffering of the dead is relieved by the living. All months spirits put dishes on the table with food for deceased family members. And when the holiday ends, lanterns in the shape of flowers are lowered into the water. This is done so that the spirits do not get lost on their way to the Land of the Dead.
Famadikhan. In Madagascar, there are no clearly pronounced holidays in honor of the dead, but the locals have a very original view of the afterlife. Famadikhana is held on the island every winter. In its course, the graves are opened, bodies are taken from there, they dress up in new silk clothes and in this form the dead are carried around the village to the sound of music. This tradition originated from the Malagasy belief that the spirit of the deceased cannot completely pass into the land of their ancestors until his body is completely decomposed. That is why bodies are taken out of the grave every 3.5 or 7 and transferred to the other side. All the relatives of the deceased come here for the ceremony of the ceremony to give him honors.