Holidays and Traditions
We know it is good for the spirit to celebrate as often as we can.
As Unitarian Universalists, we honor and celebrate a variety of religious and secular holidays and traditions reflecting the six sources of our faith. At All Souls, we celebrate Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, Jewish holidays like Yom Kipper and Passover, and those of other traditions like Hinduism Holi, among others.
In addition to religious holidays, we also honor cultural holidays such as Earth Day, Pride, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Dia de los Muertos, Thanksgiving and Memorial Day. Each celebration is a reminder of Beloved Community, a vision that calls to our deeper humanity and our commitment to mutual good.
Unitarian Universalism has also developed unique rituals and traditions of its own — like Water Communion, Flower Communion, Coming of Age, and Bridging.
For Water Communion, on the first Sunday in August, attendees bring a small amount of water from a place that is special to them. During the appointed time in the service, people pour their water into a larger vessel, combining our collective water as a symbol of our shared Beloved Community. Once blessed, it is sterilized and kept to be used as our “holy water” in child dedications and other blessing ceremonies throughout the year.
During our High Holy Days service, we celebrate the Jewish holidays of RoshHoshana (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kipper (the Day of Atonement). This is a time to celebrate the sweet beginnings of a new year, to remember our laments and yearnings of the year past, to atone for ways that we have failed to live our values, and to pledge ourselves anew to building a better world. The rich theology, the tasting of honey drizzled apples, the blowing of the shofar, the aching violin music, and the burning of flash paper with our sins make this our most sacramental holiday.
The Easter Flower Communion is an intergenerational ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, community and prophetic justice work. In this ceremony, each person places a flower in a shared bouquet as a symbol of the gift each person is and offers. After a blessing, each person takes home a different flower than the one they brought. Flower Communion is held on the first Sunday each June, the final Sunday of our program year.
Our Wheel of Life Service is an intergenerational celebration of our congregational family, when we remember those who have experienced a significant, sacramental milestone or life stage in the past year. It is a reminder that those significant moments – births,adoptions, graduations, marriage, deaths, and more – are more real when they are witnessed.
On the third Sunday of May, our youth complete either a Coming of Age or an Age of Reason ceremony that marks their preparedness as Unitarian Universalist meaning-makers. Hearing their articulations of faith are often inspiring and challenging. Closing out this service is our Bridging ceremony to celebrate and congratulate our high school graduates. This ritual, marking their transition from youth to young adulthood, focuses on maintaining the graduates’ connection to Unitarian Universalism.
Throughout the year we hold Child Dedication ceremonies to welcome new additions into our congregation’s families. This special ritual takes place during our regular Sunday morning services throughout the year and is officiated by one of our ministers or our Director Children and Community Programming. Together, they craft a special ritual of blessing, affirmation, and welcome that involve both the family and the full congregation.
For resources and information to help you celebrate holidays, please visit our UU Worship Web for readings, stories, sermons and other great resources.