All Saints' Day
|All Saints' Day|
|Also called||All Hallows' Day|
Feast of All Saints
Feast of All Hallows
Solemnity of All Saints
|Liturgical color||White (Western Christianity)|
Green (Eastern Christianity)
|Observances||Church services, praying for the dead, visiting cemeteries|
|Date||1 November (Western Christianity)|
Sunday after Pentecost (Eastern Christianity)
All Saints' Day, also known as All Hallows' Day, the Feast of All Saints, the Feast of All Hallows, the Solemnity of All Saints, and Hallowmas, is a Christian solemnity celebrated in honour of all the saints of the church, whether they are known or unknown.
From the 4th century, feasts commemorating all Christian martyrs were held in various places, on various dates near Easter and Pentecost. In the 9th century, some churches in the British Isles began holding the commemoration of all saints on 1 November, and in the 9th century this was extended to the whole Catholic church by Pope Gregory IV.
In Western Christianity, it is still celebrated on 1 November by the Roman Catholic Church as well as many Protestant churches, as the Lutheran, Anglican, and Methodist traditions. The Eastern Orthodox Church and associated Eastern Catholic and Eastern Lutheran churches celebrate it on the first Sunday after Pentecost. The Church of the East and the Syro-Malabar Church and Chaldean Catholic Church, the latter of which is in communion with Rome, celebrates All Saints' Day on the first Friday after Easter Sunday. In the Coptic Orthodox tradition, All Saints' Day is on Nayrouz, celebrated on September 11. The day is both the start of the Coptic new year and its first month, Thout.
In the Western Christian practice, the liturgical celebration begins at Vespers on the evening of 31 October, All Hallows' Eve (All Saints' Eve), and ends at the close of 1 November. It is thus the day before All Souls' Day, which commemorates the faithful departed. In many traditions, All Saints' Day is part of the season of Allhallowtide, which includes the three days from 31 October to 2 November inclusive, and in some denominations, such as Anglicanism, extends to Remembrance Sunday. In places where All Saints' Day is observed as a public holiday but All Souls' Day is not, cemetery and grave rituals such as offerings of flowers, candles and prayers or blessings for the graves of loved ones often take place on All Saints Day. In Austria and Germany, godparents gift their godchildren Allerheiligenstriezel (All Saint's Braid) on All Saint's Day, while the practice of souling remains popular in Portugal. It is a national holiday in many Christian countries.
The Christian celebration of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day stems from a belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between those in heaven (the "Church triumphant"), and the living (the "Church militant"). In Catholic theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. In Methodist theology, All Saints Day revolves around "giving God solemn thanks for the lives and deaths of his saints", including those who are "famous or obscure". As such, individuals throughout the Church Universal are honoured, such as Paul the Apostle, Augustine of Hippo and John Wesley, in addition to individuals who have personally led one to faith in Jesus, such as one's grandmother or friend.
The Christian holiday of All Saints' Day falls on 1 November, is followed by All Souls' Day on 2 November. It is a Solemnity in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, a Festival in the Lutheran Churches, and a Principal Feast of the Anglican Communion.
From the 4th century, there existed in certain places and at sporadic intervals a feast day to commemorate all Christian martyrs. It was held on 13 May in Edessa, the Sunday after Pentecost in Antioch, and the Friday after Easter by the Syrians. During the 5th century, St. Maximus of Turin preached annually on the Sunday after Pentecost in honor of all martyrs in what is today northern Italy. The Comes of Würzburg, the earliest existing ecclesiastical reading list, dating to the late 6th or early 7th century in what is today Germany, lists this the Sunday after Pentecost as dominica in natale sanctorum ("Sunday of the Nativity of the Saints"). By this time, the commemoration had expanded to include all saints, martyred or not.
On 13 May 609 or 610, Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the martyrs, ordering an anniversary; the feast of dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since. It is suggested 13 May was chosen by the Pope and earlier by Christians in Edessa because it was the date of the Roman pagan festival of Lemuria, in which malevolent and restless spirits of the dead were propitiated. Some liturgiologists base the idea that Lemuria was the origin of All Saints on their identical dates and their similar theme of "all the dead".[a]
Pope Gregory III (731–741) dedicated an oratory in Old St. Peter's Basilica to the relics "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world". Some sources say Gregory III dedicated the oratory on 1 November, and this is why the date became All Saints' Day. Other sources say Gregory III held a synod to condemn iconoclasm on 1 November 731, but dedicated the All Saints oratory on Palm Sunday, 12 April 732.
By 800, there is evidence that churches in Ireland, Northumbria (England) and Bavaria (Germany) were holding a feast commemorating all saints on 1 November. Some manuscripts of the Irish Martyrology of Tallaght and Martyrology of Óengus, which date to this time, have a commemoration of all saints of the world on 1 November. In the late 790s, Alcuin of Northumbria recommended holding the feast on 1 November to his friend, Arno of Salzburg in Bavaria. Alcuin then used his influence with Charlemagne to introduce the Irish-Northumbrian Feast of All Saints to the Frankish Kingdom.
Some scholars propose that churches in the British Isles began celebrating All Saints on 1 November in the 8th century to coincide with or replace the Celtic festival known in Ireland and Scotland as Samhain. James Frazer represents this school of thought by arguing that 1 November was chosen because Samhain was the date of the Celtic festival of the dead. Ronald Hutton argues instead that the earliest documentary sources indicate Samhain was a harvest festival with no particular ritual connections to the dead. Hutton proposes that 1 November was a Germanic rather than a Celtic idea.
The 1 November All Saints Day was made a day of obligation throughout the Frankish Empire in 835, by a decree of Emperor Louis the Pious, issued "at the instance of Pope Gregory IV and with the assent of all the bishops", which confirmed its celebration on 1 November. Under the rule of Charlemagne and his successors, the Frankish Empire developed into the Holy Roman Empire.
Sicard of Cremona, a scholar who lived in the 12th and 13th centuries, proposed that Pope Gregory VII (1073–85) suppressed the feast of 13 May in favour of 1 November. By the 12th century, 13 May had been deleted from liturgical books.
The festival was retained after the Reformation in the liturgical kalendars of the Lutheran Churches and the Anglican Church. In the Lutheran churches, such as the Church of Sweden, it assumes a role of general commemoration of the dead. In the Swedish calendar, the observance takes place on the Saturday between 31 October and 6 November. In many Lutheran Churches, it is moved to the first Sunday of November. In the Church of England, mother church of the Anglican Communion, it is a Principal Feast and may be celebrated either on 1 November or on the Sunday between 30 October and 5 November. It is also celebrated by other Protestants, such as the United Church of Canada and various Methodist connexions.
Protestants generally commemorate all Christians, living and deceased, on All Saints' Day; if they observe All Saints Day at all, they use it to remember all Christians both past and present. In the United Methodist Church, All Saints' Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in November. It is held, not only to remember Saints, but also to remember all those who have died who were members of the local church congregation. In some congregations, a candle is lit by the Acolyte as each person's name is called out by the clergy. Prayers and responsive readings may accompany the event. Often, the names of those who have died in the past year are affixed to a memorial plaque.
In many Lutheran churches, All Saints' Day is celebrated the Sunday after Reformation is celebrated (the date for Reformation is 31 October, so Reformation Sunday is celebrated on or before 31 October). In most congregations, the festival is marked as an occasion to remember the dead. The names of those who have died from the congregation within the last year are read during worship and a bell is tolled, a chime is played or a candle is lit for each name read. While the dead are solemnly remembered during worship on All Saints' Sunday, the festival is ultimately a celebration of Christ's victory over death.
In English-speaking countries, services often include the singing of the traditional hymn "For All the Saints" by Walsham How. The most familiar tune for this hymn is Sine Nomine by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Other hymns that are popularly sung during corporate worship on this day are "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God" and "Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones".
Being the vigil of All Saints' Day (All Hallows' Day), in many countries, such as Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, Halloween is celebrated on 31 October. During the 20th century the observance largely became a secular one, although some traditional Christian groups have continued to embrace the Christian origins of Halloween whereas others have rejected such celebrations.
By 411, the East Syrians kept the Chaldean Calendar with a "Commemoratio Confessorum" celebrated on the Friday after Easter. The 74th homily of St. John Chrysostom from the late 4th or early 5th century marks the observance of a feast of all the martyrs on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Some scholars place the location where this sermon was delivered as Constantinople.
The Feast of All Saints achieved greater prominence in the 9th century, in the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI "the Wise" (866–911). His wife, Empress Theophano lived a devout life and, after her death, miracles occurred. Her husband built a church for her relics and intended to name it to her. He was discouraged to do so by local bishops, and instead dedicated it to "All Saints". According to tradition, it was Leo who expanded the feast from a commemoration of All Martyrs to a general commemoration of All Saints, whether martyrs or not.
This Sunday marks the close of the Paschal season. To the normal Sunday services are added special scriptural readings and hymns to all the saints (known and unknown) from the Pentecostarion.
In the late spring, the Sunday following Pentecost Saturday (50 days after Easter) is set aside as a commemoration of all locally venerated saints, such as "All Saints of America", "All Saints of Mount Athos", etc. The third Sunday after Pentecost may be observed for even more localised saints, such as "All Saints of St. Petersburg", or for saints of a particular type, such as "New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke".
In addition to the Mondays mentioned above, Saturdays throughout the year are days for general commemoration of all saints, and special hymns to all saints are chanted from the Octoechos.
The celebration of 1 November in Lebanon as a holiday reflects the influence of Western Catholic orders present in Lebanon and is not Maronite in origin. The traditional Maronite feast equivalent to the honor of all saints in their liturgical calendar is one of three Sundays in preparation for Lent called the Sunday of the Righteous and the Just. The following Sunday is the Sunday of the Faithful Departed (similar to All Souls Day in Western calendar).
East Syriac tradition
In East Syriac tradition the All Saints Day celebration falls on the first Friday after resurrection Sunday. This is because all departed faithful are saved by the blood of Jesus and they resurrected with the Christ. Normally in east Syriac liturgy the departed souls are remembered on Friday. Church celebrates All souls day on Friday before the beginning of Great lent or Great Fast.
Austria and Bavaria
In Belgium, Toussaint or Allerheiligen is a public holiday. Belgians visit the cemeteries to place chrysanthemums on the graves of deceased relatives on All Saints Day, since All Souls Day is not a holiday.
In France, and throughout the Francophone world, the day is known as La Toussaint. Flowers (especially in Chrysanthemums), or wreaths called couronnes de toussaints are placed at each tomb or grave. The following day, 2 November (All Souls' Day) is called Le jour des morts, the Day of the Dead.
In Germany, Allerheiligen is a public holiday in many of the federal states. Some states such as Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, Rheinland-Pfalz, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Saarland categorize it as a silent day (stiller Tag) when public entertainment events are only permitted if the serious character of the day is preserved.
In Poland, Dzień Wszystkich Świętych is a public holiday. Families try to gather together for both All Saints' Day and the All Souls' Day (Zaduszki), the official day to commemorate the departed faithful. The celebrations begin with tending to family graves, surrounding graveyards, lighting candles and leaving flowers in a cemetery the first day and, what often extends into the next. November 1 is a bank holiday in Poland and, while the following All Souls' Day is not. The Zaduszki custom of honouring the dead thus corresponds with All Souls' Day celebrations, and is much more observed in Poland than in most other places in the West.
In Portugal, Dia de Todos os Santos is a national holiday. Families remember their dead with religious observances and visits to the cemetery. Portuguese children celebrate the Pão-por-Deus tradition (also called santorinho, bolinho or fiéis de Deus) going door-to-door, where they receive cakes, nuts, pomegranates, sweets and candies.
In Spain, el Día de Todos los Santos is a national holiday. As in all Hispanic countries, people take flowers to the graves of dead relatives. The play Don Juan Tenorio is traditionally performed.
In Guatemala, All Saints' Day is a national holiday. On that day Guatemalans make a special meal called fiambre which is made of cold meats and vegetables; it is customary to visit cemeteries and to leave some of the fiambre for their dead. It is also customary to fly kites to help unite the dead with the living. There are festivals in towns like Santiago Sacatepéquez and Sumpango, where giant colorful kites are flown.
All Saints' Day in Mexico coincides with the first day of the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) celebration. It commemorates children who have died (Dia de los Inocentes) and the second day celebrates all deceased adults.
Allhowtide in the Philippines is variously called "Undás" (from the Spanish Honras, meaning honours, as in "with honours"), "Todos los Santos" (Spanish, "All Saints"), and sometimes "Araw ng mga Patay / Yumao" (Tagalog, "Day of the Dead / Passed Away"), which incorporates All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Filipinos traditionally observe this day by visiting their family's graves to clean and repair the tombs. Prayers for the dead are recited, while offerings are made, the most common being flowers, candles, food, and for Chinese Filipinos, incense and kim. Many also spend the day and ensuing night holding reunions at the graves with feasting and merriment.
Pangangaluluwa and Trick-or-treat
Though Halloween is usually seen as an American influence, the country's trick-or-treat traditions during Undas are actually much older. This tradition was derived from the pre-colonial tradition of pangangaluwa. From "káluluwâ" ("spirit double"), it was a practice of early Filipinos, swathed in blankets, going from house to house, and singing as they pretended to be the spirits of ancestors. If the owner of the house failed to give biko or rice cakes to the "nangángalúluwâ", the "spirits" would play tricks (such as stealing slippers or other objects left outside the house, or run off with the family's chickens). Pangángaluluwâ practices are still seen in some rural areas.
Cemetery and reunion practices
During Undas, families visit the graves of loved ones. It is believed that by going to the cemetery and offering food, candles, flowers, and sometimes incense, the spirits are remembered and appeased. Contrary to common belief, this visitation practice is not an imported tradition. Prior to the use of coffins, pre-colonial Filipinos were already visiting burial caves throughout the archipelago as confirmed by research conducted by the University of the Philippines. The tradition of atang or hain is also practiced, where food and other offerings are placed at the gravesite. If the family cannot visit, a specific area in the house is set aside for ritual offerings.
The present date of Undas, 1 November, is not a pre-colonial observance but an import from Mexico, where it is known as the Day of the Dead. Pre-colonial Filipinos preferred going to the burial caves of the departed occasionally as they believed that aswáng (half-vampire, half-werewolf beings) would take the corpse of the dead if it was not properly guarded. Watching over the body of the dead is called "paglalamay". However, in some communities, this paglalamay tradition is non-existent and is replaced by other pre-colonial traditions unique to each community.
Undas is also seen as a family holiday, where members living elsewhere to their hometowns to visit ancestral graves. Family members are expected to remain beside the grave for the entire day and socialize with each other to strengthen ties. In some cases, family members going to graves may exceed one hundred people. Fighting in any form is taboo during Undas.
Role of children
Children are allowed to play with melted candles left at tombs, which they form into wax balls. The round balls symbolize the affirmation that everything goes back to where it began, as the living will return to dust from whence it came. In some cases, families also light candles by the front door, their number equivalent to the number of departed loved ones. It is believed that the lights aid the spirits and guide them to the afterlife.
1 November is a fixed date All Saints public holiday in Andorra, Austria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Croatia, East Timor, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Martinique, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Togo, the Vatican and Venezuela.
In Belgium, all Sundays are public holidays; should All Saints fall on a Sunday, then a replacement day on a weekday of choice is given. In Monaco, if it falls on a Sunday, the next day is a statutory holiday.
In Sweden, an All Saints public holiday falls on the Saturday during the period between 31 October and 6 November, with a half-holiday the day before. Both in Finland and Estonia, the All Saints public holiday was moved from a fixed date of 1st November to a public holiday on the Saturday during the period between 31 October and 6 November. In the Åland Islands the first Saturday of November is an All Saints public holiday.
In Montenegro, All Saints' Day is considered a Roman Catholic holiday and is a non-working day for that religious community. In Bosnia and Herzegovina it's a public holiday in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina only.
In Germany All Saints' is a designated quiet day in states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. Similarly in Switzerland the following 15 out of 26 cantons have All Saints as a public holiday: Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden Fribourg, Glarus, Jura, Luzern, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Saint Gallen, Solothurn, Schwyz, Ticino, Uri, Valais, and Zug.
In the Philippines, where there are two types of public holidays, All Saints' Day is a fixed date, special holiday.
In India, All Saints Day is considered a public holiday in the state of Karnataka and a Christian religious holiday throughout the country, which means it is often a common addition to the list of paid holidays at the discretion of the employer, for those that wish to observe. It also happens to coincide with several state foundation days that fall on 1 November in several states: Karnataka Rajyotsava in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh Day in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana Foundation Day in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh Foundation Day in Madhya Pradesh, Kerala Foundation Day in Kerala and the Chhattisgarh Foundation Day in Chhattisgarh.
- 1755 Lisbon earthquake which occurred on this day and had a great effect on society and philosophy
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- For example Alford 1941, p. 181 note 56 observes that "Saints were often confounded with the Lares or Dead. Repasts for both were prepared in early Christian times, and All Saints' Day was transferred in 835 to November 1st from one of the days in May which were the old Lemuralia"; Alford notes Pierre Saintyves, Les saints successeurs des dieux, Paris 1906 (sic, i.e. 1907).
- Marty, Martin E. (2007). Lutheran questions, Lutheran answers: exploring Christian faith. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress. p. 127. ISBN 978-0806653501.
All Lutherans celebrate All Saints Day, and many sing, 'For all the saints, who from their labors rest…'
- Willimon, William H. (2007). United Methodist Beliefs. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-1611640618.
- Hopwood, James A. (2019). Keeping Christmas. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-5326-9537-7.
- The Anglican Service Book. Good Shepherd Press. 1991. p. 677. ISBN 978-0962995507.
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- Illes, Judika (11 October 2011). Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints & Sages: A Guide to Asking for Protection, Wealth, Happiness, and Everything Else!. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-209854-2.
The Feast of All Saints is officially called the Solemnity of All Saints. Other names for this feast include the Feast of All Hallows and Hallowmas.
- Crain, Alex (29 October 2021). "All Saints' Day – The Meaning and History Behind the November 1st Holiday". Christianity.com. Retrieved 29 October 2021.
All Saints Day, also known as All Hallows' Day, or Hallowmas, is a Christian celebration in honor of all the saints from Christian history. In Western Christianity, it is observed on November 1st by the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, and other Protestant denominations. The Eastern Orthodox Church and associated Eastern Catholic churches observe All Saints Day on the first Sunday following Pentecost.
- "All Saints' Day". Washington, D.C.: Saint George's Episcopal Church. Retrieved 29 October 2021.
All Saints' Day also called All Hallows, Hallowmas, and Feast of All Saints is held on November 1 each year and celebrates and honors all the Saints especially the Saints who are not honored on other days of the year. The day is preceded by All Saints’ Eve (Halloween) the night before and then the day after followed by All Souls Day. The 3 days together represent the Allhallowtide triduum (religious observance lasting 3 days) as a time to reflect and remember the saints, martyrs, and the faithful who have died.
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Lutheran and Orthodox Churches who do not call themselves Roman Catholic Churches have maintained the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, still celebrate this Day. Even the Protestant Churches like the United Methodist Church all celebrate this day as the All Souls Day and call it All Saints day.
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Just as the term "Eastertide" expresses for us the whole of the church services and ancient customs attached to the festival of Easter, from Palm Sunday until Easter Monday, so does All-hallowtide include for us all the various customs, obsolete and still observed, of Halloween, All Saints' and All Souls' Days. From the 31st of October until the morning of the 3rd of November, this period of three days, known as All-hallowtide, is full of traditional and legendary lore.
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For many twentieth-century Christians the All Saints-tide period is extended to include Remembrance Sunday. In the Calendar and Lectionary we have sought to make it easier to observe this without cutting across a developing lectionary pattern, and we have reprinted the form of service approved ecumenically for use on that day.
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- McClendon, Charles (2013). "Old Saint Peter's and the Iconoclastic Controversy", in Old Saint Peter's, Rome. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107041646. pp. 215–216: "Soon after his election in 731, Gregory III summoned a synod to gather on 1 November in the basilica of Saint Peter's in order to respond to the policy of iconoclasm that he believed was being promoted by the Byzantine Emperor [...] Six months later, in April of the following year, 732, the pope assembled another synod in the basilica to consecrate a new oratory dedicated to the Saviour, the Virgin Mary, and all the saints".
- Ó Carragáin, Éamonn (2005). Ritual and the Rood: Liturgical Images and the Old English Poems of the Dream of the Rood Tradition. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9780802090089. p. 258: "Gregory III began his reign with a synod in St Peter's (1 November 731) which formally condemned iconoclasm [...] on the Sunday before Easter, 12 April 732, Gregory convoked yet another synod [...] and at the synod inaugurated an oratory [...] Dedicated to all saints, this oratory was designed to hold 'relics of the holy apostles and all the holy martyrs and confessors'".
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- Butler, Alban. Butler's Lives of the Saints, New Full Edition, Volume 11: November (Revised by Sarah Fawcett Thomas). Burns & Oates, 1997. pp. 1–2. Quote: "Some manuscripts of the ninth-century Félire, or martyrology, of St Oengus the Culdee and the Martyrology of Tallaght (c. 800), which have a commemoration of the martyrs on 17 April, a feast of 'all the saints of the whole of Europe' on 20 April, and a feast of all saints of Africa on 23 December, also refer to a celebration of all the saints on 1 November".
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Originally celebrated as the night before All Saints' Day, Christians chose November first to honor their many saints. The night before was called All Saints' Eve or hallowed eve meaning holy evening.
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- Media related to All Saints Day at Wikimedia Commons
- Quotations related to All Saints' Day at Wikiquote
- All Saints and All Souls Day American Catholic
- All Saints Sunday Orthodox England
- A Vigil service for All Saints All Hallows' E'en – "Halloween"
- First Sunday after Pentecost, or All Saints Sunday by Sergei Bulgakov, Handbook for Church Servers
- Synaxis of All Saints Icon and Synaxarion of the feast