Halloween has come to an end for another year with many people celebrating the occasion with parties and fancy dress. However, the end of Halloween is also linked to a lesser known tradition known as All Saints’ Day.
All Saints Day is celebrated each year after Halloween but what is the meaning behind the tradition - and why do people celebrate it?
When is All Saints’ Day - and what is it?
All Saints Day falls on Tuesday 1 November 2022. The tradition takes place on the same date each year and is always one day after Halloween, which falls on 31 October.
All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallows Day, Hallowas and Feast of All Saints, is an event which is celebrated all over the world. It’s an occasion which is celebrated by people of the Christian faith and is designed to pay tribute to all of the religion’s saints, including those who are well known and unknown, throughout history.
All Saints Day is also commemorated by members of the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as some protestant churches, such as Lutheran and Anglican churches. The event is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation, meaning all Catholics are expected to attend mass.
How is All Saints Day celebrated?
Across many European countries, it has become a tradition to pay respects to those who have passed away and many christians use all day as an opportunity to visit the grave of a loved one and lay flowers at their grave.
The event is marked as a public bank holiday for a number of countries including Spain and Portugal. Portuguese children celebrate the occasion in a similar fashion to Halloween and in the evening they go door to door receiving treats such as sweets and cakes.
All Saints Day is not a public holiday in the UK however the following countries do take a public holiday to mark the occasion:
- The Philippines
- Sweden (First Saturday of November)
What is the history of All Saints’ Day?
All Saints’ Day originated in May 609 and was founded by Pope Boniface IV who dedicated the Pantheon in Rome to the Blessed Virgin Mary. During the eighth century the date was changed to 1 November by Pope Gregory III when he dedicated a chapel at the Vatican in honour of all the saints.
Pope Boniface IV is also believed to have established All Souls Day, which follows All Saints Day.
What is All Souls’ Day and when is it?
All Souls Day, also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and the Day of the Dead, is designed to commemorate the faithful departed. The day takes place annually on 2 November and is always marked two days after Halloween and one day after All Saints’ Day.
The occasion is a chance for Christians to remember and pray for the souls of those who are in purgatory - a place in which those who have died are made to atone for minor sins before being granted passage into heaven. Those in purgatory are deemed still to be members of the church and must cleanse any outstanding sins.
The occasion is celebrated around the world but it is not a public holiday.