Hello All, today I’d like to talk about two other holidays that may or may not get much acknowledgement. That’s correct these maybe overlooked by many of us yearly. Everyone celebrates Halloween, right? Well, did you know that the two days afterward aren’t just for binge watching Hulu and eating candy! The day after Halloween is known by many different names… All Saints’ Day, All Hallows’ Day, Hallowmas.
Whatever you call it, November 1 every year is a day for remembering Christian saints and martyrs and celebrating them with festivals and church services held in their honour.
All Souls’ Day meanwhile is held on November 2 (or November 3 if that date is a Sunday) and is a date to remember those who are deceased, those who might be in purgatory awaiting to atone for their sins.
Here is everything you need to know.
What is All Saints’ Day?
By now, I sure you’re probably wondering what All Saints’ Day is, right!? Well here goes please follow along. Both Anglicans and Roman Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day by holding a festival to remember all holy saints.
The tradition of celebrating the saints and martyrs has been marked by Christians ever since the 4th century but it was only formalised for the first time in 609AD when Pope Boniface IV decreed that all martyrs should also be celebrated on the 13 May during something he called the Feast of All Holy Martyrs.
In 837AD Pope Gregory IV extended the festival to include saints, renaming the festival the Feast of All Saints and changing the date to November 1 and the festival has been marked on that date ever since.(Sorry, ya’ll kinda went to Google for some research and turned it into a history lesson.) Moving right along….
Which saints are remembered?
According to Mark Wood at Christian Today many evangelical protestants are uncomfortable with saints as it seems to rank some Christians more highly than others.
Therefore many Christians extend the celebration of All Saints Day to everyone who is a Christian. ‘We are all saints, in a biblical sense,’ he writes.
‘So All Saints Day is a time to be thankful for all those Christians who have lived before us, whether they are officially saints or not. Some are the great teachers ad prophets from history. Some are those who’ve taught and inspired us personally.
‘Some are our friends and family. We can thank God for their witness, and for the way they have transmitted the faith down the generations. We can learn from their lives. We can take time to be grateful for what we’ve received, and to recommit ourselves to follow in their footsteps.’
What is All Souls’ Day?
Ok, by now I’m sure you get the feel for All Saints’ Day, so now I will move along to All Souls’ Day which is usually the day after All Saints’ Day and is all about praying for the souls of the dead so they can leave purgatory and go to heaven.
During All Souls’ prayers Christians ask for God’s mercy for them. This is also the day the Book of the Dead is opened near the alter of churches to allow people to write the names of their relatives that they want to be remembered.
If the date falls on a Sunday a Mass of All Souls is held, as well as morning and evening prayers for the dead.
All Souls’ Day tends to be more prevalent in European Catholic churches but is related to similar events worldwide. In Mexico for example, there is the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) and in China there is the Chinese Ghost Festival.
I, hope this has been helpful for you, friends. I’m not sure about you, but I will be celebrating as I do every year. Happy Holidays!