El Día de todos los Santos

Elvira Q.

imagesGRJMQIG0En España y en otros muchos lugares del mundo en el Día de todos los Santos se celebra la tradición de honrar y traer a nuestra memoria a las personas que han muerto. Es un rito de recuerdo y homenaje a los antepasados, que se celebra con la visita a los cementerios.

Los cementerios se llenan de flores. Las familias recuerdan aquellas personas queridas que no están, que se fueron… Es un día especial dentro del calendario de otoño. En principio, la celebración tenía un claro sentido doméstico: la familia se reunía y recordaba a sus difuntos comiendo buñuelos, castañas, etc., rezando el rosario o con pequeños gestos como dejar un plato vacío en la mesa. También se encendían velas ante las fotografías de familiares desaparecidos. Se trataba, pues, de una celebración íntima y familiar, a pesar de la dosis de temor que inevitablemente provoca la incertidumbre del mundo sobrenatural. Esta tradición pretendía prolongar al más allá la protección de la familia hacia sus miembros y pedir el amparo de los antepasados, percibidos como protectores del hogar y el linaje.

En muchos países, el invierno está asociado con la estación más lúgubre y fría del año. Tanto la Noche de los Difuntos, como el Día de Todos los Santos están íntimamente relacionados con el otoño, cuando la naturaleza entra poco a poco en letargo y se prepara para cubrirse de nieve. La naturaleza, después del estallido del verano, entra en un periodo de muerte aparente: las hojas de los árboles caen, no hay flores y las plantas parecen adormecidas. No es extraño que desde la antigüedad muchas culturas hayan instituido en este momento una fiesta en recuerdo de los difuntos.

La “muerte” de la Naturaleza, se iniciaba cuarenta días después del equinoccio de otoño, el 22 de septiembre, precisamente el Día de Todos los Santos, el 1 de noviembre. En sus inicios, el cristianismo trasladó la fiesta de los difuntos a la primavera, ya que se vinculaba a la creencia en la resurrección, celebrando la fiesta de los Mártires poco después de la Pascua. Pero la fuerte tradición anterior, básicamente en los países de cultura celta, acabó devolviendo la fiesta al otoño Se cree que su origen se debe a la decisión del Papa Bonifacio IV (608-615) de consagrar el Panteón de Agripa al culto de la Virgen y los Mártires, conmemorándose así los santos anónimos y desconocidos por la mayoría de la cristiandad. Su ubicación el 1 de noviembre se debió al interés de la iglesia católica de que los pueblos celtas convertidos al cristianismo abandonasen sus antiguas creencias paganas.
En el siglo XI, la orden monástica de Cluny creó el día de Conmemoración de los Fieles Difuntos, el día 2 de noviembre, con el fin de rogar por todos los muertos, estos días se vinculan con la vuelta de sus almas y a diversas manifestaciones de su presencia entre nosotros.

Estas dos festividades escenifican el encuentro entre el mundo de los muertos, «simbolizado en el mundo real por la tierra yerma», y el mundo de los vivos, «simbolizado por las semillas que se sembrarán en primavera y que harán posible la vida en el futuro».

La motivación de la fiesta ha cambiado mucho en los últimos años. La muerte era, para nuestros antepasados, un hecho inevitable y natural. La muerte de los viejos se aceptaba, era un hecho cotidiano. La gente moría en casa, acompañada por los familiares, mayores y pequeños, y por el vecindario. Los velatorios tenían lugar en el domicilio y los séquitos funerarios salían de la puerta de casa.

Al cambiar la relación que la sociedad tiene con la muerte, también se ha transformado la fiesta. Perdido el sentido sagrado de los antepasados, los difuntos se convierten básicamente en personajes de fantasía que dan miedo: muertos vivientes, espíritus y fantasmas. Y las visiones contemporáneas del más allá se construyen sobre un sincretismo de creencias y personajes.

Sin este cambio de mentalidad no se puede entender la rápida aceptación de otros modelos, como Halloween, que hacen de Todos los Santos una fiesta lúdica que utiliza elementos heredados de las tradiciones centroeuropeas, como las calabazas o las luces.

Los celtas celebraban en la noche del 31 de octubre el “Shamhain”, fiesta que marcaba el final del verano y las cosechas, y el inicio del invierno. Creían que en tal fecha los límites entre el mundo de los vivos y el de los muertos desaparecían, propiciando que los fantasmas de los difuntos regresaran a sus antiguos hogares con la intención de visitar a los vivos. Para ahuyentar a los malos espíritus, los druidas preparaban grandes hogueras y hacían conjuros, mientras que la gente dejaba dulces o comida a las puertas de sus casas para que las ánimas les dejaran en paz.
Con el Cristianismo, el “Shamhain” pasó a llamarse “All Hallows Even” (Vigilia de todos los Santos), denominación que con el paso de los siglos fue transformándose hasta llegar a lo que hoy se conoce como “Halloween”.
Por su parte, la fiesta de “Halloween” es actualmente una tradición estadounidense y poco tiene que ver con sus orígenes. Llegó al país con los primeros colonos ingleses y ha ido variando con las aportaciones realizadas por los inmigrantes de distinto origen que han poblado Estados Unidos. El cine ha popularizado mucho esta celebración y se está extendiendo por Europa.
Estas fiestas no hacen referencia a la idea de los difuntos familiares, sino a una serie de personajes de la literatura fantástica o el cine. Una celebración que más que recordar a los difuntos juega con un imaginario banalizado, y por tanto más fácilmente asumible, de la muerte.

 

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