November 1, in the Church’s liturgical calendar, is the Solemnity of All Saints. The preceding eve is known as “All Hallow’s Eve” or Halloween. The root word of Halloween – ”hallow” – means ”holy.” The suffix “een” is an abbreviation of “evening.” It refers to the Eve of All Hallows, the night before the Christian holy day that honors saintly people of the past. Unfortunately, the Western influence took away the “Holy” in Halloween through dress-up parties on October 31 where people wear costumes to look like monsters, ghouls, and other evil entities. Whether they willfully know this or not, the practice of dressing up like creatures of the night and demons have pagan origins.
The Church regards All Saints Day as a time for honoring the saints. Today, there is a growing concern among Christians that the modern celebration of Halloween trivializes and even glamorizes evil, the occult, and superstitious and pagan practices and beliefs that are incompatible with the Christian faith. To reclaim the sacredness of the eve of All Saints, we need to create a counterculture that will serve as a Christ-centered alternative to Halloween by starting a tradition of our own. The March of Saints is a fitting tradition to reclaim the sacredness of All Saints Day and to give back the glory to God.
Like in the previous years, on November 1, 2020, parishioners of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Aluba, Cagayan de Oro, took part in a “Parade of Saints” to celebrate All Saints’ Day. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, all participants had to wear masks and face shields. They also needed to obtain a special permit from the barangay and city hall.
The parade is a counter-culture activity to the pagan celebration of Halloween and an avenue of catechizing children at an early age, and families, about the lives of the saints.