Introduction

All Saints Day celebration is commonly known as the All Hallows, The Feast of All Saints, or the Solemnity of All Saints. The special day is a solemnity that is being celebrated yearly on the 1st of November by the people of Western Christianity as well as on the first Sunday of November after the Pentecost by the people of Eastern Christianity. It is celebrated to honor all of the saints worldwide whether they are known or unknown.

It is the 2nd day of Hallowmas which starts during the sunrise in the month of November and ends during the sunset. It is the spiritual celebration that is celebrated with a great zeal and courage a day before All Souls’ Day.

All Saints Day 2019

All Saints Day is also known as the Feast of All Saints was celebrated on Friday, 1st November 2019. The festival is especially celebrated at places with a large Roman Catholic population.

The festival commemorates the connection between the living and the departed. Therefore, people went to cemeteries and decorated the graves with flowers and garlands.

In the traditional French way, the day was observed by garlanding and lighting a candle on even the most obscured grave.

Several Latin-American communities held several celebratory events on the occasion of All Saints Day.

The President of the Philippines, Mr. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, visited the grave of his parents at a Roman Catholic cemetery in Davao city on 31st October.  He issued a statement hoping that the Filipinos become more united and deepen their faith on this all saints day.

He also appealed to the people to honor and pray for the departed souls of loved ones and friends, cherishing the beautiful memories.

Facts About All Saints Day

Date: 1st of November

Also known as:

  • Solemnity of All Saints
  • The Feast of All Saints
  • All Hallows

Feast Type: Solemnity; Holy Day of Obligation

Prayer: Litany of the Saints

Observed by:

  • Catholic Church
  • Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Anglican Communion
  • Lutheranism and Methodism
  • Other Christian denominations

Liturgical Color: White

Type: Christian

Date of celebration:

  • 1st of November in Western Christianity
  • 1st Sunday of November after Pentecost in the Eastern Christianity

Observances: Church services

Related to the:

  • All Souls’ Day
  • Hallowmas
  • Day of the Dead
  • Hallowe’en

 

Why All Saints Day is Celebrated

According to the Western Christian religion, All Saints Day is celebrated on the 1st of November to memorialize all those who have achieved the saintly vision in Heaven. The day is celebrated as a national holiday in most of the traditional Catholic countries. The people at Catholic Church and other Anglican churches, remember the realistic personalities who have been purified and reached to heaven.

The Christians who involve in the All Saints’ Day celebration believe that there is a type of spiritual bond which exists between the people in the Church suffering and people in heaven means in the Church triumphant as well as the living means in the Church militant.

The people of other Christian traditions celebrate and respond to this day in other different ways. Such as the people related to the Methodist Church, commemorate and honor the dead members of the neighboring congregation.

According to the Eastern Christian religion, in the 19th century, all saints had attained immense fame during the time of the Byzantine Emperor named Leo VI “the Wise”. His wife named Empress Theophano (who had lived a religious life) is commemorated on the 16th of December.

The husband of her had built a church in the memory of her after her death in order to dedicate her in 893. It is considered that he got banned doing so, that’s why he determined to bestow the same to All Saints. She is too honored and remembered during the celebration of All Saints Day. Traditionally the celebration of the day was expanded by the Leo.

The Sunday, after the Pentecost Sunday, means 50 days after Easter is set for the remembrance of all the local respected saints like All Saints of America and All Saints of Mount Athos, etc. Accordingly, the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost is observed to commemorate the All Saints of St. Petersburg and New Martyrs of Turkish Yoke, etc.

 

The History and Origin of All Saints Day

In the earlier centuries, the day was celebrated during Easter season even in the Eastern Churches (both Catholic and Orthodox) people celebrate it like that. The current date means 1st November was first organized as a celebration of All Saints Day by Pope Gregory III during 731-741 only for the diocese of Rome and it was extended for the entire Church by Pope Gregory IV during 827-844. All Saints Day is celebrated by all the Christian saints, especially those who have no their own particular feast days in Protestant, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other churches.

The exact date of the origin of All Saints Day cannot be sketched with firmness as it is observed on different days in various places. However, at some places, it is believed that it has origin in the pagan observation of the 13th of May (means the Feast of Lemures). According to the Liturgiologists, it is believed that the origin of the day was the Lemuria festival.

The celebration of the day was set on the 1st of November by the declaration of the Louis, the religious, and with the consent of all bishops. The day is celebrated on the 1st Sunday of November in the United Methodist Church to remember all the Saints means those who died as well as members of the neighboring church congregation. There is a tradition of lighting a candle by Acolyte and calling out each person’s name by the clergy during the celebration. Chanting of prayers and other readings take place in the event. People at Lutheran churches concurrently celebrate All Saints Day and Reformation Day on Sunday.

According to the Catholicism, there is a holy day of obligation at All Saints Day in most of the countries such as England, Wales and people celebrate it by gathering together.

The custom of Celebrating All Saints day

  • People visit cemeteries
  • Offering Soul Cakes to the poor

All Saints Day is celebrated at a graveyard in the Sanok by flowering and lighting the candles to offer honor to the deceased relatives. In Mexico, Portugal, Spain, and other countries offerings are made by the people on this day. There is a traditional performance of playing Don Juan Tenorio in Spain takes place. Children in Portuguese celebrate it through the Pao-por-Deus tradition in which they go door-to-door and receive nuts, cakes, and pomegranates.

The traditional celebration takes place by the Filipinos in which they visit the problems of relatives of a deceased person, offer prayers, flowers, lit candles and etc. Which is now has been replaced by them as spending the day at a graveyard near the loved ones. They sing a song using musical instruments, burn firecrackers and do other rituals. People in France, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Malta, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Spain, and America are used to offer flowers at the graves of relatives who died. In some countries, people lit candles too.

In some other English speaking countries, the day is celebrated traditionally with the chant “For All the Saints” by William Walsham How for which the special tune is “Sine Nomine” by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Another tune that is commonly sung during this day is “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God”.

What Do People Do On All Saints Day

It is celebrated by Christians in most of the countries all over the world. In some countries, people make offerings of flowers to the graves of their dead relatives. Whereas, people from other countries lit candles at the graves of their deceased relatives. In some parts of Asia like the Philippines, people clean and repair the graves as well as put down flowers and lit candles.

In France, the day is celebrated in the church to memorialize all the saints however, in the evening their focus twirls towards the dead. On this day, cemeteries are cleaned up, decorated and getting packed with people. On this day there is a public holiday in most countries including Bolivia, Germany, Hungary, Parts of Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein, Croatia, France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Chile, Sweden (1st Saturday of the November), The Philippines and Poland.

The Symbols Associated with All Saints’ Day:

  • The crown.
  • A bundle of wheat.
  • Symbols and images of individual saints.
  • Rayed Manus Dei (means the hand of God).

Why Do Catholics Pray to Saints

Catholics are used to pray to saints at All Saints Day. Actually they request the saints to bless them by connecting them to God as they move closer to God. Catholics ask to saints in their prayer to pray for them to God or to lead them closer to Christ. Catholics understand that the saints who are in heaven are close to God and they are connected to the saints through the spiritual union.

Thus praying means requesting to the saints is different from praying to God. Catholics request the saints to message their prayer to God quickly and easily instead of praying to God directly.