Autumn is that time of year when the seasons begin to shift from the warm, long days of summer to the shorter, darker days of winter. It is a time of year when harvests come in and activities begin to slow down and move indoors. It is a season to contemplate change. We witness the leaves falling off the trees and reflect on the passing of time, or even the span of our own lives.
There are numerous festivals and observations during this time of year across the indigenous and religious spectrum. Here is a short list of some of them:
Samhain - An ancient Celtic harvest festival that begins a new year and recognizes a liminal space between the living and the dead
Diwali - Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains celebrate the harvest and the victory of light over darkness
Sukkot is an autumnal Jewish holiday about giving thanks for the autumn harvest and commemorating the 40 years of wandering the desert after leaving slavery in Egypt
All Saints’ & All Souls’ Day are Catholic and Christian recognitions of saints and those who have died; a time to remember them and pray for them
Navratri is a Hindu autumnal holiday that is a 9-day celebration of the Divine Feminine that commemorates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness
One consistent thread through these various holidays is recognizing that life, like the long days of summer, comes to a natural end. Another through line of these holidays is that they are based around family and community. Yet there are those whose lives come to an end that do not have family to grieve them or to give them honor and recognition at their passing.
Each year in Thurston County there are persons who die and whose remains go unclaimed. One of the ways that Interfaith Works practices Sacred Service in our community is by dedicating time each year to gather and honor these people with our annual All Souls’ Day service. This annual recognition is a time to honor life and bring dignity to those who have died without family support. We also recognize the lives of those persons who have died by suicide in the past year and persons who have died while experiencing homelessness.
You are invited to attend this event online at 2 p.m. on November 1st, 2020. The event will be broadcast live from within Mills & Mills Funeral Home, who graciously host this event year after year. During our celebration we will make space to recognize persons attending the broadcast who are actively grieving and also have space open for a recognition of the shared grief we are carrying in this time of pandemic. You are invited to have pictures of loved ones who have passed with you as we do this basic, healing work of recognizing our losses and remembering our shared humanity.