It isn’t called this, but it’s what my brother thought it was called when he was younger. It makes sense if you really think about it. For us, All Saints Day (or the Saturday/Sunday before it) meant heading out to the family plots to clean and whitewash the tombs. To him, this meant the day must be called All Graves Day and he’d tell Mom it was time to “go paint the gravies”.
The significance of it never really sank in. Yes, we were Catholic growing up, but our parents weren’t very devoted Catholics. We went to church on Christmas Eve and Easter, and observed All Saints Day, but that was all.
I do recall heading to the cemetery with my dad and one of his cousins. They’d let me roam the graveyard while they worked on one tomb and then another. Now, it might seem weird to let a child roam around a cemetery, but I wasn’t scared at all. I actually find cemeteries to be very peaceful and pretty. I liked to look at the tombs to see what families were where. I used to make a game of looking for the oldest graves, or who had the most interesting first names, or who lived the longest. It gave me a sense of history and a strangely enough, perhaps I ended up understanding the true meaning of All Saints Day because of it.
These people had been here before me. They’d lived long ago, or not so long ago. They had family. Some were devoted parents with loving children. Some were children with loving parents. Some were wives. Some were husbands. But they all shared a common theme, they were gone and their loved ones missed them. So yes, I suppose I honored the souls of those who’ve gone before me without even realizing it.
And I’m deeply disappointed in my Saints this weekend. Oh, sorry, my New Orleans Saints. Perhaps they were nervous since their holiday was approaching. Or maybe they would’ve done better if the game had fallen on November 1 instead of October 30. Who knows? All I do know is they’d better get back on the ball. There are a lot of people (dead and alive) who want to see them go back to the Super Bowl.
I have to admit that I haven’t been to a cemetery very often, but the few times I’ve been, I have been strangely fascinated with the dates on the tombstones or gravemarkers. My heart always broke whenever I realized I was looking at a child’s grave, and that was long before I became a mother. I always thought the graves of elderly people who died within a year of their spouse was interesting too.
As for your New Orleans Saints…I can’t claim to be a fan, but I root for them most of the time and always whenever they place the ball in the hands of a former Miami Hurricane (namely Jimmy Graham and previously Jeremy Shockey).
I don’t expect everyone to be a fan of the Saints…just most of the civilized world, LOL 😉
I ADORE old cemeteries. See, another thing we have in common. I did (and still do) exactly the same thing you did. Check dates, do math, etc. My family has an old cemetery in north Alabama and my husband’s in S. Alabama. They have markers to the 1800s and it’s just awesome to walk around them. St. Michael’s here in Pensacola is lovely, too.
The cemetery about 250 feet from our house began in 1863 when my wife’s ancestors buried a Rebel soldier gravely wounded at the nearby Battle of Dutton Hill. I’ve been there at evening time and even very late at night a few times. Strangely, I’m not spooked.
I once took a nap in a cemetery near Biloxi because I had a long drive back to Covington LA — after a AF Reserve drill weekend — and it was the most quiet place I could find.