©2019 BDB Communications All rights reserved.
The Feast of All Saints or All Saints' Day is a Christian tradition celebrated on November 1st by the Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant denominations. It is considered a holy day of obligation - a religious feast (festival) day on which Catholics should limit their workload and attend mass. It's a day to honor those who did good works on earth and achieved saintly status from God through the church while in Heaven.
The earliest recorded observance of All Saints was recorded in the fourth century. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Parthenon in Rome to the Virgin Mother Mary and all of the martyrs. Pope Gregory III (731-741) dedicated a chapel in Rome's Saint Peter's Basilica in honor of all saints and martyrs, declaring November 1 to be a holy day. Pope Gregory IV made that date a general observance in 837.
All Saints' Day is also known as All Hallows Day, Solemnity of All Saints, and Hallowmas. In Old English, hallow means holy or sacred. Hallows Eve, known also as Halloween, means the "evening of holy persons". It refers to the evening before All Saints' Day.
The Feast of All Saints is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches.
Celebrate The Feast of All Saints
Christians of the Catholic and Protestant faiths who observe this tradition are expected to attend mass as it is a holy day of obligation. People unable to attend may read the Bible, particularly the Eight Beatitudes, blessings told by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. This is found in the Gospel of Matthew, the first book of the New Testament.
On this day, many people light candles and offer prayers of thanks to the saints, or any saint/saints in particular that may be special to them in some way. There are numerous saints. Some better known to the general population are Saint Francis of Assisi (patron saint of animals), Saint Patrick of Ireland, Saint Jude, (one of the 12 apostles and patron saint of hopeless cases), Saint Anthony (patron saint of lost things - there are multiple saints named Anthony), and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (the first Native American saint). Mother Teresa, a nun who dedicated her life to helping the poor in India, was canonized as a saint on September 4, 2016.
Another way to celebrate All Saints' Day is to visit a cemetery and leave an offering for relatives or others who have crossed over. A small medal or statue of a saint who was favored by the deceased may also be left at the gravesite providing that complies with the cemetery rules.
Honoring the dead during this time of the year is a theme which correlates with a second Christian holiday, All Souls' Day, the pagan holiday of Samhain, the Mexican celebration Dia de los Muertos, and the Islamic month of Muharram.