November 1st: All Saints Day: The History And Traditions Behind The Holiday

https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/when-is-all-saints-day-2019-all-hallows-day-catholics-a4275401.html

When Is All Saints Day : What Is It And Who Celebrates It.

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Now that spooky season is officially over and our Halloween costumes are packed away for another year, our thoughts may start to turn to Christmas.

But don’t be putting up the tinsel just yet, because directly after Halloween is the Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day.

While it may be easy to forget the religious origins of Halloween, November 1 marks a special holiday observed by Roman Catholics and most Protestant denominations worldwide.

All Saints’ Day is an opportunity for worshippers to remember saints and martyrs throughout Christian history.

So why do Christians celebrate All Saints’ Day – and what is it? Here’s everything you need to know.

A cross stands at the Chartreuse cemetery in central Bordeaux on October 26, 2018 ahead of All Saints’ Day. (AFP/Getty Images)

When is All Saints’ Day?

All Saints’ Day – also known as All Hallows’ Day or Hallowmas, is celebrated on November 1, the day after Halloween.

It comes just after the pagan holiday of Samhain and is directly followed by the Mexican Day of the Dead festival and another Christian holiday, All Souls’ Day.

In Eastern Orthodox and associated Eastern Catholic churches, All Saints’ Day is observed on the first Sunday following Pentecost.

Why do Christians celebrate it?

All Saints’ Day has been a Christian tradition since the 4th century AD, but it wasn’t until 609AD that Pope Boniface IV decided to remember all martyrs.

Originally the Feast of All Holy Martyrs, as it was then known, was celebrated on May 13.

Then in 837AD Pope Gregory IV extended the holy day to remember all saints, changed its name to the Feast of All Saints and changed the date to November 1.

It’s thought that the date was chosen to replace the end of harvest time and the Gaelic festival of Samhain, known as the festival of the dead.

In Catholic tradition, the holiday honours those who have passed on to the Kingdom of Heaven.

In Methodist tradition, it relates to giving God earnest gratitude for the lives and deaths of his saints.

Pope John Paul II stressed the importance of All Saints’ Day in 2003: “We celebrate today the solemnity of All Saints. This invites us to turn out gaze to the immense multitude of those who have already reached the blessed land, and points us on the path that will lead us to that destination.”

How is All Saints’ Day celebrated?

Catholics are expected to attend mass on All Saints’ Day, although Bishops in many countries don’t make this a requirement if the holiday does not fall on a Sunday.

There is usually a reading of the Beatitudes, the eight blessings recounted in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew.

Some also leave offerings of flowers to dead relatives and others may light candles and visit the graves of lost loved ones.

How does it relate to Halloween?

The Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day has close associations with Halloween (freestocks/Unsplash)

While nowadays we may associate Halloween with trick or treating and scary movies, Halloween started out as a holy Christian celebration.

‘Hallow’ in Old English means ‘holy’ or ‘sacred,’ so Hallows’ Eve or Halloween simply means “the evening of holy persons” and refers to the evening before All Saints’ Day.

Halloween is a mixture of Celtic religious ideas and Christian martyrology.”

https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/when-is-all-saints-day-2019-all-hallows-day-catholics-a4275401.html

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/01/world/all-saints-day-trnd/index.html
All Saints Day – November 1st

All Saints Day: The history and traditions behind the holiday By CNN
“Every year on November 1, many Roman Catholics and other Christians around the world observe All Saints Day, which honors all saints of the church that have attained heaven. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, All Saints Day is observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Here’s a look at the history and traditions of this holy holiday. “

“Where All Saints Day came from

Although now observed in November, All Saints Day was originally celebrated on May 13, although the origin cannot be traced with certainty, accoring to Encyclopedia Brittanica. Pope Boniface IV formally started what would later be known as All Saints Day on May 13 in 609 AD when he dedicated the Pantheon in Rome as a church in honor of the Virgin Mary and all martyrs.
The current date of November 1 was established by Pope Gregory III during his reign (731-741 AD) when he dedicated a chapel in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica in honor of all saints. While this celebration was originally limited to Rome, later in 837 Pope Gregory IV ordered the official observance of All Saints Day every November 1 and extended its celebration to the entire Church.

All Saints really means ALL saints

While many canonized saints are celebrated with their own individual day (such as St. Patrick), saints that have not been canonized have no particular holiday. All Saints Day recognizes those whose have attained heaven, but their sainthood is known only to God. Even so, Catholic observances tend to focus on known saints, those canonized by the Catholic Church.

A holy obligation

According to Catholic Online, within the Catholic Church, All Saints’ Day is generally considered a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning all Catholics must attend Mass unless they are prevented by illness or another sufficient excuse. After the Protestant Reformation, many Protestant sects kept All Saints Day. Methodists, for example, acknowledge it as a day of giving God earnest gratitude for the lives and deaths of saints, according to Christianity.com.

Observances around the world

Although not a public holiday in the US, All Saints’ Day is observed publicly in many countries. In France and Germany, people have the work day off and businesses are closed. In the Philippines, All Saints Day is known as “Undas” and isn’t just for remembering the saints, but for honoring and paying respects to departed loved ones, usually with prayers, flowers, and good offerings and graves.”

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