All Saints’ Day, also called All Hallows’ Day, Hallowmas, is a solemn Christian holiday, mainly dedicated to honoring the souls of saints and martyrs. It is observed on 1st November in Western churches and the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern rite churches. Unlike other holidays, All Saints’ Day is a unique celebration to express gratitude for their contributions and sacrifice and acknowledge their spiritual presence in people’s lives now. Find out everything about the All saints’ Day 2021 celebration and its history to increase your history knowledge.
What is All Saints’ Day?
All Saints’ Day is celebrated to commemorate the saints, known and unknown. It is also called All Hallows’ Day or the Feast of All Saints. It is intended to honor all saints. This includes those who are not celebrated individually or are no longer celebrated.
When Is All Saints' Day?
- A. First Sunday of November
- B. November 20
- C. November 1
- D. December 10
Why Do We Celebrate All Saints’ Day?
It is observed to honor saints who are believed to have moved heaven. It is a Christian holiday, also known as a holy day of obligation, and Catholics must attend Mass. All Saints’ Day is a public holiday in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia. All Saint’s Day is different from All Souls’ Day that is celebrated to acknowledge those who have reached heaven, whereas All Souls’ Day is a day to offer prayer and recognition for the souls of those who have died.
History of All Saint’s Day Celebration
It is believed that the origin of All Saint’s Day can be traced back to the 4th century. During that time, the Greek Christians used to follow a custom of celebrating festivals and feasts. These celebrations contributed to the celebration of the martyrs and saints. Typically, the Ancient Greeks celebrated these festivities Sunday after the Pentecost.
Since the 4th century, a feast honoring all Christain martyrs has taken place in different places on dates close to Easter and Pentecost. From the 9th century, several churches in the British Isles started celebrating the remembrance of all saints in November. In the 10th century, it was continued to the whole Catholic Church by Pope Gregory IV. When we talk about Western Christianity, All Saints’ Day is observed on 1st November by the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches. It is commemorated on the first Sunday after Pentecost by the Eastern Orthodox Church, Byzantine Lutheran churches, and associated Eastern Catholics. All Saints’ Day is observed on the first Friday after Easter Church of the East and associated Eastern Catholic churches.
Earlier in the church, Christians used to acknowledge the anniversary of a martyr’s death at the place of martyrdom. Occasionally groups of martyrs suffered death together on the same day. Eventually, the church decided that martyrs should be venerated, so they designated a common day for all. Therefore, this custom is believed to be the origin of All Saints’ Day.
All Saints’ Day Celebration Around the World
If you think All saints’ day celebrations are the same in every country, you are wrong. Scroll down to find out how these countries observe All Saints’ Day.
All Saints’ day comes after the night of Halloween in the United States. It is more like a cultural day than a religious day.
- In Mexico, it is celebrated for almost one week. It is celebrated on the first day of the Dead (also known as Dia de Los Muertos). People organize parades and festivals on this day.
- Hispanic countries, including Mexico, Spain, and Portugal, hold the play called “Don Juan Tenorio,” traditionally performed.
- Children visit door to door for candy on this day in Portugal.
- In Europe, people offer flowers in cemeteries, while in Eastern Europe, people light candles instead of offering flowers.
- People from the Philippines and France, decorate, restore and repaint the graves of their loved ones.
- If this holiday doesn’t fall on Sunday, several countries obey the obligation of Catholics and participate in Mass. Reading the Beatitudes is also practiced. Songs like “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” and “For All the Saints” are traditionally sung. On this day, Soul cakes, Irish breaks with fruit are common foods.