All Saints’ Day | All Hallows’ Day
All Saint’ Day falls just after the spooky day on 1st November and will see Christians from across the world come together to mark the occasion. The month of November opens with the Feast of All Saints and is followed by the Feast of All Souls.
All Saints’ Day also known as Feast of All Saints, Solemnity of All Saints, All Hallows is a Christian solemnity observed in honor of all the saints. It honors all the Saints and often is celebrated through a feast. It is an observance for Christians to recognize all the Saints in the church.
So who are the saints? Well, saints are people just like each one of us. Saints include every single person who is living with God in heaven. They are people who decided to use their talents to make the world a better place. They are people who made mistakes but weren’t afraid to ask for forgiveness. They are people who took care of others and strived for peace. Saints are inspiring people who took Jesus’ message in the Gospel today to heart:
“Blessed are the clean of heart… the merciful… the peacemakers… they who hunger and thirst for righteousness… for they will see God. They will be called God’s children. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” Saints are people who thanked God for offering them the gift of heaven by making the most of their lives and being an inspiration to other people.
Honouring saints has been a tradition within the faith since the 4th Century but it wasn’t until the 7th Century that Pope Boniface IV decided to include all martyrs in the commemorations. The spiritual bond between those in heaven and those on Earth is supposedly strengthened on All Saints’ Day and so believers honor their departed loved ones after paying tributes to saints.
There is speculation about the event being held on November 1, which is the same day as the pagan Festival of the Dead, which would compete with All Saints’ Day. Others say, All Saints’ Day got its start back in the fourth century where Greek Christians celebrated a festival on the first Sunday after Pentecost in honor of Saints. Today it is a nationally celebrated holiday.
All Saints’ Day is followed by All Souls’ Day in which observers specifically pay tribute to their friends and family who had passed away. A candle will be lit by a family member or friend in memory of the loved one, who now sleeps in Christ.
What is the connection with Halloween?
There has been much debate over Halloween’s origins, with some believing that it is solely a Christian holiday and others tracing its roots to Parentalia, the Roman festival of the dead.
However, the most commonly held theory is that Halloween’s basis is found in Samhain, which marks the end of the harvest season and the onset of the cold darkness of winter. The Celts believed that at this time the world was more vulnerable to spirits, who carried the potential to cause the deaths of people and livestock over the winter. This fear led to the development of customs to keep the spirits at bay, lighting huge fires, and making sacrificial offerings.
It is thought that early missionaries held their own festival at the same time as the Pagan observance in an attempt to absorb it into the Christian calendar and tie it to All Saints’ Day. The word Halloween itself dates back to the 18th century, and means “hallowed (or holy) evening”.
Let’s pray together on All Saints Day, November 1st, and All Souls Day on November 2nd.