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Catholic Activity: All Saints' Day in Louisiana

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We Americans would do well to imitate our French confreres of Louisiana in their celebration of All Saints' Day. Here is a description of their festivities on this solemnity.

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Possibly nowhere in America is All Saints' Day observed so strikingly as it is among the Louisiana French. For days preceding it, each family will clean, whitewash or paint the tombs, prepare artificial flowers, design wreaths and place these on the tombs. Among the financially better fixed, chrysanthemums and dahlias are used in decorating the graves. Before the expansion of the Church as we have it today, family and neighborhood cemeteries were common. In our parish, St. Ann's at Mamou, Louisiana, we have six cemeteries besides the Church cemetery. In the afternoon of All-Saints' Day, the blessing of the graves takes place. A procession is held around the cemetery. The priest is at the head; the people follow. The beads are recited while the blessing is taking place. The ceremony ends with a sermon and the singing of the Libera. In some sections where the priest cannot assit, candles are lit at dusk, one for each member deceased and an all night vigil is held. Where outdoor altars exist, Mass is celebrated in the cemeteries on All Souls Day.

Activity Source: Your Home, A Church in Miniature by Compiled by The Family Life Bureau in the early 1950s, The Neumann Press, Long Prairie, Minnesota, 1994

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