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What is All Saints Day and why do we celebrate it?

The Roman Catholic church recognizes over 10,000 saints and while each day of the year is dedicated to one or more on 1 November all of them are celebrated.

The history behind All Saints Day

All Saints Day falls on the first of November and it’s also known as Hallowmas, Feast of All Saints and All Hallows’ Day. The Christian holiday celebrates the saints of the Church. On this day, the church recognizes all of those that have been beatified, whether known or unknown, and attained heaven.

All Saints Day is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church, but not until the first Sunday after Pentecost.

How did All Saints Day originate?

Since the beginning of Christianity, people have honored the dead. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV reportedly established All Saints’ Day.

Many saints have their own feasts that are observed on certain days, but this day is to celebrate all of the saints who have died and reached heaven.

Although All Saints Day is celebrated in several Roman Catholic countries, the holiday is most recognized in Mexico, where the day is known as ‘Día de los Muertos.’ The holiday grew even more popular in Mexico where the indigenous also honored and remembered the dead. The traditions and rituals in Mexico therefore combine those of the indigenous Aztecs and Catholics.

What is the history of All Saints Day?

Rather than in November, the original holiday fell in mid-May. Not until the eighth century was All Saints Day moved to November by Pope Gregory III. It’s believed that the date was moved to coincide with many Pagan holidays. Since that change, the church started to incorporate some Samhain traditions into the holiday, which brought more people to join the church. However, supernatural ideas and the spirit world are not typically incorporated into Christian traditions.

Why is All Saints Day in November?

The Celtic culture considers November a dark time of year where the weather changes, farming stops, and the animals are brought indoors. Being a farming culture, November brings about stark changes in living and care for the land. This is in contrast to the Spring where life is in bloom and animals awake from their slumber. Due to the darkness November brings, the Celts chose this time to remember the dead.

What is All Souls Day?

On November 2nd, Roman Catholics celebrate All Souls Day, in which people honor all those that have departed. It is a day to celebrate, respect, and honor the dead.

How is All Souls Day Celebrated?

Christians pray and visit the burials of their deceased family members.

How do All Souls Day and All Saints Day differ?

While All Saints day is a day to celebrate those who have attained beatification in Heaven, All Souls Day is a day to remember and honor those who have not yet reached heaven.