‘Death is a part of life’; Interfaith Center presents ‘Death Week’

The end of October conjured images of trick-or-treaters and carved jack-o’-lanterns, largely due to the commercialization of Halloween. But the festivities associated with this time of year often don’t involve the multiple non-secular holidays that occur concurrently and afterwards.

Acknowledging the concentration of religious holidays around the end of October and beginning of November, the Interfaith Center hosted “Death Week,” where students could attend a variety of events centered around the discussion of “death as a part of life,” according to the Interfaith Center.

Throughout the week students could also leave offerings and light candles for deceased family and friends on an altar set up in the Interfaith Center. 

Rev. Amy Fisher, the director of the Interfaith Center, said that the Interfaith Center wanted to give members of the Suffolk community a space to celebrate these holidays and honor the traditions associated with it.

“It starts with Nov. 1, which is a Roman Catholic and Protestant holy day that also incorporates All Hallows Eve, Halloween, Samhain, Day of the Dead and Dia de los Muertos. Everything comes together on Nov. 1,” Fisher said.

“Death Week” began Oct. 31 with a guided mediation entitled “Remembering the Dead,” followed by a discussion held by the Muslim Student Association.

All Saint’s Day, Nov. 1, is a Roman Catholic and Protestant holy day, which for Catholics honors the saints, especially those who do not have their own feast day, and for Protestants is a time to remember family and members of their congregation who have passed, according to the Interfaith Center.

The Christian Bible Study talked about remembering the saints to commemorate the holy day. That same day, the Atheists, Humanists, Agnostics and Anti-Theists hosted a “death cafe,” and the Elemental Yoga group did a session concentrated on savasana, also called the “corpse pose.”

On Nov. 2, Questioning Catholics had a Catholic mass focused on All Souls Day, a holy day where Catholics pray for and honor the souls of the deceased, according to the Interfaith Center.

Suffolk Mystics and Witches hosted a silent supper on Nov. 3 for Samhain (pronounced sah-win), one of eight sabbaths in the Celtic wheel of the year. Samhain welcomes the harvest and the “dark half of the year,” according to History.com.

Suffolk Hillel held a conversation on monsters and ghouls in Jewish folklore, where students were also able to create clay golems. Golems are creatures brought to life using ritual incantations and a sequence of Hebrew letters and are protectors of their creators, according to the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

Meaning and Music talked about the ways music and grief connect with one another.

Fisher encouraged students interested in attending future discussions to visit the Interfaith Center in Sawyer 823 during the week.

“If you’re looking for something, you’re going to find it at one of these [weekly meetings],” Fisher said.

For future events and information, follow the Interfaith Center on Instagram @su_interfaith.