AT a recent Ministry of Health pandemic news conference, Dr Joanne Paul strongly recommended the avoidance of "trick or treating” or Halloween parties, which is becoming a popular celebration in some parts of TT.
Paul, who heads the Paediatric Department at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, explained the house-to-house movement of children trick-or-treating has the potential to become a super spreader event and cause the country to return to a lockdown.
However, no such instruction has been given for the observance of All Saints or All Souls, part of the triduum commemorated on November 1 and 2, after Halloween on October 31, all in memory of the dead.
All Saints Day was originally commemorated in the 4th century to honour Christian saints and martyrs, but over the years has expanded to include ordinary people. In the Roman Catholic tradition, Catholics usually go to Mass on that day.
In a paid advertisement, Clarke and Battoo's Funeral Home said owing to the covid 19 pandemic, there will be no celebrating of the usual All Saints and All Souls masses at the cemeteries.
Instead the funeral home said it will live stream the masses from St Margaret’s Anglican Church at 5 pm on November 1 and St Peter’s RC Church on November 2, from 6 pm.
The Catholic Media Services in a release on Friday called on those who will visit cemeteries to light candles for their loved ones to adhere to public health guidelines.
“In adherence to the government’s continued efforts in containing the spread of covid 19 by reducing the number of persons congregating in public space to ten, the Archdiocese of Port of Spain is encouraging the faithful to visit cemeteries at various times throughout All Souls’ Day, November 2 as well as on other alternative days in November. This advisory is to avoid a large volume of traffic at cemeteries which would exceed the maximum for public gatherings at this time.”
Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein said he will be visiting the graveside of his father, late San Fernando mayor Rakeeb Hosein, to pay homage.
Hosein said he has the assurance of the Assistant Commissioner of the Municipal Police Service Surrendra Sagramsingh that officers will be deployed at all public cemeteries to ensure best practices are observed relating to mask-wearing and congregating or gathering.
“We are here to ensure the safety and comfort of all citizens, as evidenced by our increased efforts in response to the ongoing pandemic.”
Hosein encouraged the public to obey the rules, while noting the importance of the commemoration of these rituals.
“All Saints and All Souls days are days that are very dear to us all. It is a time that we visit the graves of our loved ones who have passed away and even light candles and offer prayers.
“For me, this is a very special occasion as I visit my father’s resting place and pay homage to his life.
"However, while we would want to perform certain rituals, we must exercise caution in light of the global pandemic.”
He advised people participating in these observances to wear their masks, maintain social distancing and limit gatherings to ten.
“It is important that we continue to play our part in this fight against covid19, for our safety and that of our loved ones.”