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Requiescat In Pace | by Cristina 63
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Requiescat In Pace

Cimitero di Villandro, Alto Adige.

Villanders Cemetery, South Tyrol.

 

La Commemorazione dei defunti (in latino Commemoratio Omnium Fidelium Defunctorum, ossia Commemorazione di Tutti i Fedeli Defunti), è una ricorrenza della Chiesa cattolica. Era anticamente preceduta da una Novena e celebrata il 2 novembre di ogni anno. Nel calendario liturgico segue la festività di Ognissanti, che ricorre infatti il 1º novembre.

Nella forma straordinaria del rito romano era previsto che nel caso in cui il 2 novembre cadesse di domenica, la ricorrenza sarebbe stata celebrata il giorno successivo, lunedì 3 novembre. In Italia, benché molti lo considerino come un giorno festivo, la ricorrenza non è mai stata ufficialmente istituita come festività civile.

L'idea di commemorare i defunti in suffragio nasce su ispirazione di un rito bizantino, che celebrava infatti tutti i morti il sabato prima della domenica di Sessagesima - così chiamata prima della riforma liturgica del Concilio Vaticano II - , ossia la domenica che precede di due settimane l'inizio della quaresima, all'incirca in un periodo compreso fra la fine di gennaio ed il mese di febbraio. Nella chiesa latina il rito viene fatto risalire all'abate benedettino sant'Odilone di Cluny nel 998: con la riforma cluniacense stabilì infatti che le campane dell'abbazia fossero fatte suonare con rintocchi funebri dopo i vespri del 1 novembre per celebrare i defunti, ed il giorno dopo l'eucaristia sarebbe stata offerta "pro requie omnium defunctorum"; successivamente il rito venne esteso a tutta la Chiesa Cattolica. Ufficialmente la festività, chiamata originariamente Anniversarium Omnium Animarum, appare per la prima volta nell'Ordo Romanus del XIV secolo. Oggi si celebra come Commemorazione di tutti i fedeli defunti.

In Italia è consuetudine nel giorno dedicato al ricordo dei defunti visitare i cimiteri locali e portare in dono fiori sulle tombe dei propri cari. In molte località italiane è diffusa l'usanza di preparare alcuni dolciumi, chiamati infatti dolci dei morti, per celebrare la giornata. In Sicilia durante la notte di Ognissanti la credenza vuole che i defunti della famiglia lascino dei regali per i bambini insieme alla frutta di Martorana e altri dolci caratteristici. Nella provincia di Massa Carrara la giornata è l'occasione del bèn d'i morti, con il quale in origine gli estinti lasciavano in eredità alla famiglia l'onore di distribuire cibo ai più bisognosi, mentre chi possedeva una cantina offriva ad ognuno un bicchiere di vino; ai bambini inoltre veniva messa al collo la sfilza, una collana fatta di mele e castagne bollite. Nella zona del monte Argentario era tradizione cucire delle grandi tasche sulla parte anteriore dei vestiti dei bambini orfani, affinché ognuno potesse metterci qualcosa in offerta, cibo o denaro. Vi era inoltre l'usanza di mettere delle piccole scarpe sulle tombe dei bambini defunti perché si pensava che nella notte del 2 novembre le loro anime (dette angioletti) tornassero in mezzo ai vivi. Nelle comunità dell'Italia meridionale dell'Eparchia di Lungro e dell'Eparchia di Piana degli Albanesi si commemorano i defunti secondo la tradizione orientale di rito greco-bizantino. Le celebrazioni vengono effettuate nelle settimane precedenti la Quaresima.

Secondo la cultura tradizionale di molte località italiane, la notte del Giorno dei Morti le anime dei defunti tornerebbero dall'aldilà effettuando delle processioni per le vie del borgo. In alcune zone, conformemente a quanto avviene nel mondo anglosassone in occasione della festa di Halloween, era tradizione scavare e intagliare le zucche e porvi poi una candela all'interno per utilizzarle come lanterne.

Nei paesi dell'America Centrale è consuetudine, oltre a visitare i cimiteri, addobbare le tombe con fiori, oltre che depositare sulle stesse giocattoli (nel caso in cui il defunto sia un bambino) o alcolici.

In Messico, in alcune abitazioni, è ancora consuetudine preparare l'altare dei morti: tale manufatto viene arricchito con immagini del defunto, una croce, un arco e incenso. Ciò in quanto il credo popolare pensa che, durante tale giorno, lo spirito dei defunti vengano a trovare i loro cari. Tale altare servirebbe a favorire tale ritorno.

In Ungheria gli orfani vengono invitati a passare la giornata con una famiglia. Al termine vengono regalati loro dei giocattoli e dei dolci.

(fonte: Wikipedia)

All Souls' Day commemorates the faithful departed. In Western Christianity, this day is observed principally in the Catholic Church, although some churches of the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches also celebrate it. The Eastern Orthodox churches observe several All Souls' Days during the year. The Roman Catholic celebration is associated with the doctrine that the souls of the faithful who at death have not been cleansed from the temporal punishment due to venial sins and from attachment to mortal sins cannot immediately attain the beatific vision in heaven, and that they may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass (see Purgatory). In other words, when they died, they had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven. This sanctification is carried out posthumously in Purgatory.

The official name of the celebration in the Roman Rite liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church is "The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed".

Another popular name in English is Feast of All Souls. In some other languages the celebration, not necessarily on the same date, is known as Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos or de los Difuntos in Spanish-speaking countries; halottak napja in Hungary; Yom el Maouta in Lebanon, Israel and Syria).

The Western celebration of All Souls' Day is on 2 November and follows All Saints' Day, which commemorates the departed who have attained the beatific vision. If 2 November falls on a Sunday, the Mass is of All Souls, but the Office is that of the Sunday. However, Morning and Evening Prayer (Lauds and Vespers) for the Dead, in which the people participate, may be said. In pre-1969 calendars, which some still follow, and in the Anglican Communion, All Souls Day is instead transferred, whenever 2 November falls on a Sunday, to the next day, 3 November, as in 2008.

The Eastern Orthodox Church dedicates several days throughout the year to the dead, mostly on Saturdays, because of Jesus' resting in the tomb on Saturday. In the Methodist Church, saints refer to all Christians and therefore, on All Saint's Day, the Church Universal, as well as the deceased members of a local congregation are honoured and remembered.

Historically, the Western tradition identifies the general custom of praying for the dead dating as far back as 2 Maccabees 12:42-46. The custom of setting apart a special day for intercession for certain of the faithful on November 2 was first established by St. Odilo of Cluny (d. 1048) at his abbey of Cluny in 998. From Cluny the custom spread to the other houses of the Cluniac order, which became the largest and most extensive network of monasteries in Europe. The celebration was soon adopted in several dioceses in France, and spread throughout the Western Church. It was accepted in Rome only in the fourteenth century. While 2 November remained the liturgical celebration, in time the entire month of November became associated in the Western Catholic tradition with prayer for the departed; lists of names of those to be remembered being placed in the proximity of the altar on which the sacrifice of the mass is offered.

The legend connected with its foundation is given by Peter Damiani in his Life of St Odilo: a pilgrim returning from the Holy Land was cast by a storm on a desolate island. A hermit living there told him that amid the rocks was a chasm communicating with purgatory, from which perpetually rose the groans of tortured souls. The hermit also claimed he had heard the demons complaining of the efficacy of the prayers of the faithful, and especially the monks of Cluny, in rescuing their victims. Upon returning home, the pilgrim hastened to inform the abbot of Cluny, who then set 2 November as a day of intercession on the part of his community for all the souls in Purgatory.

At the Reformation the celebration of All Souls' Day was fused with All Saints' Day in the Church of England, though it was renewed individually in certain churches in connection with the Catholic Revival of the 19th century. The observance was restored with the publication of the 1980 Alternative Service Book, and it features in Common Worship as a Lesser Festival called "Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (All Souls' Day)".

Polish grave lightsAmong continental Protestants its tradition has been more tenaciously maintained. Even Luther's influence was not sufficient to abolish its celebration in Saxony during his lifetime; and, though its ecclesiastical sanction soon lapsed even in the Lutheran Church, its memory survives strongly in popular custom. Just as it is the custom of French people, of all ranks and creeds, to decorate the graves of their dead on the jour des morts, so German and Polish and Hungarian people stream to the graveyards once a year with offerings of flowers and special grave lights (see the picture), and among Czech people the custom of visiting and tidying graves of relatives on the day is quite common even among atheists. In North America, however, most Protestant acknowledgment of the holiday is generally secular, celebrated in the form of Halloween festivities.

The origins of All Souls' Day in European folklore and folk belief are related to customs of ancestor veneration[citation needed] practised worldwide, through events such as the Chinese Ghost Festival, the Japanese Bon Festival, or the Mexican Day of the Dead. The Roman custom was that of the Lemuria.

In Tirol, cakes are left for them on the table and the room kept warm for their comfort. In Brittany, people flock to the cemeteries at nightfall to kneel, bareheaded, at the graves of their loved ones, and to anoint the hollow of the tombstone with holy water or to pour libations of milk on it. At bedtime, the supper is left on the table for the souls.

In Bolivia, many people believe that the dead eat the food that is left out for them. In Brazil people attend a mass or visit the cemetery taking flowers to decorate their relatives' grave, but no food is involved.

In the Island of Malta many people make pilgrimages to cemeteries and graveyards, and not just of dead relatives on this day.

(source: Wikipedia)

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Taken on July 26, 2011