Thinking about what costume to wear this Halloween? Why not dress up like your favorite saint?
While others welcome Halloween by dressing up to be scary, children at the Epiphany of Our Lord Parish in Lingayen, Pangasinan will celebrate by dressing up to be holy.
For the fifth time, parishioners joined the “March of the Saints” this afternoon, October 31 where students donned costumes of little saints and angels instead of scary costumes of ghosts and demons.
Some 150 students, ages five to 14 years old, from Saint Columban’s College, Jesus Good Shepherd Development Center and public schools within the municipality participated in this yearly spectacle in a bid to rid the hallowed tradition of All Saints’ Day of spooky Halloween practices.
Participants were given a catechism before they started marching at 3:15p.m. along the major thoroughfares of the town and back to the church to conclude the event through a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 5p.m.
Mr. Von Ryan Torio, co-chairman of the Commission on Worship in the parish, said this annual tradition is meant to celebrate the holiness of the saints because they serve as mirrors of God’s holiness.
“We should know that we are all called to holiness. We should be celebrating holiness so that children will grow up to be good and God-fearing like the saints they are imitating,” he said.
It also aims to counter the Western-inspired concept of Halloween and bring the celebration closer to its roots.
Halloween literally means “holy evening” and was meant to celebrate all holy men and women.
“We wanted to instill in the young that All Saints’ Day is about the saints and not about ghosts and monsters. Our generation as adults are used to that, so hopefully the next generation will be celebrating Halloween the proper way by bringing them closer to God through the saints they dress up like,” he said.
As more and more commercial establishments set up scary Halloween decorations and some local government units conduct ghouls and ghosts’ activities, Torio lamented that the modern celebration of Halloween had degenerated into an overly-commercialized event.
“The March of the Saints is our way to redirect the observance of All Saints’ Day to their original intent, instead of the Halloween with gory costumes that has become popular in the country,” he said.
The theme for this year’s March of the Saints is “Epiphany parishioners in mission: beloved, gifted, empowered like the saints.”“It seems ideal but hopefully this practice will lead the children to dream to become like saints, not to be rich and famous, but to be saints,” Torio concluded. The same activity was also conducted at the Our Lady of Purification Parish in the town of Binmaley.