Sunday, October 31, 2010

Light a candle here for All Saints, All Souls and Day of the Dead

Candles like these will start flickering today, Oct. 31
(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

In memory of
Tyler Clementi
White Votive Pictures, Images and Photos
This candle was lit by Kittredge Cherry

Light a memorial candle for a loved one here for All Saints and All Souls Days, also known as Day of the Dead. Flickering virtual candles are posted here starting today, Oct. 31, 2010.

Religion and society have often dishonored and desecrated queer lives. We are providing a queer-friendly online memorial, open to all.

May all saints and all souls be restored to wholeness and holiness here.

Normally we focus on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer saints here, but on All Saints and All Souls we warmly welcome ALL saints and ALL souls. People of all faiths or no faith are invited.

The flickering candles will be placed with a tasteful mix of traditional and alternative readings and art. Readings come from gay clergy Chris Glaser, African American author Alice Walker, Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, the Bible and many others.  New names and candles and names can be added through Nov. 2.

I lit the first candle above as an example of how the individual candles will look. Your candle will do even more than honor your loved one. Your gift supports the Jesus in Love Blog and Newsletter on LGBT spirituality and the arts.

When the candles are posted, it will be Halloween (Oct. 31) in the USA, but All Saints Day (Nov. 1) will have already begun in other parts of the world.

In Catholic and Protestant Christianity, the Feast of All Saints commemorates all saints, known and unknown. The following day, the Feast of All Souls, pays respect to the faithful departed who have not yet reached heaven. Prayers are offered to ask the saints to help the living, and to offer help to the souls of deceased friends and family.

All Souls Day is celebrated in Latin America as the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). The holiday is especially popular in Mexico, where the happy celebration is one of the biggest events of the year.

All Saints Day used to be called All Hallows Day, and the preceding evening was the Eve of All Hallows, now celebrated as Halloween. These holidays are associated with the Celtic Festival of the Dead (Samhain). They grow out of the pagan belief that the souls of the dead return to visit at this time of year.

All the candles will continue flickering on the 2010 All Saints / All Souls post here as a tribute for the lifetime of this blog.
The first candle honors Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers University who committed suicide after being outed as gay in a live webcast of his sexual encounter with a man. Tyler’s death is the most recent in a string of gay teen suicides linked to anti-gay bullying and harassment.

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