This is a day with a rich history in the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations. The Roman Catholic Church celebrates All Saints’ Day on November 1st as a holy day of obligation, which requires attendance at Mass. In many countries it is observed as a national holiday as well. It is a day to remember and honor the departed ones who known or unknown are worthy of the description “holy” or “saintly” or “hallowed”. This day is the reason for Halloween, which is a shortened version of All Hallows’ Eve, referring to the evening before All Hallows’ Day, which is the feast day of the saints. According to Catholic Online:
Long ago in Ireland and Britain, Christians would come together on All Hallows Eve to ask for God’s blessing and protection from the evil in the world. The source of the modern celebrations stemmed from the donning of saintly and evil spirit costumes to act out the battle between good and evil.
Somewhere along the way, the Christian holiday became eclipsed by the secular celebration and it’s unfortunate that Halloween gets all the attention and the saints get very little.
The day after All Saints’ Day is All Souls’ Day, which is a day to pray for all the faithful departed souls, regardless of their level of holiness. We intercede and ask for God’s mercy upon these souls and for their anticipated arrival in heaven. This is not a holy day of obligation, though attending Mass is always a good thing. In many cultures the observation and celebration of these days becomes blurred into a general remembrance of all the departed souls, particularly one’s own deceased relatives. Besides attending Mass, people will visit cemeteries and light candles to honor the dead.
For more information on All Saints’ Day, click here.
Happy feast day to all the saints!