All Saints Day

Celebrating All Saints’ Day

November 1, 2017

Roman Catholic Church celebrates dozens of saints’ days. However, not every saint has the holiday because not all of them are known to the church. In such a way, to commemorate all the saints in heaven, there is All Saint’s Day observed on November 1.

All Saints’ Day observance

All Saints’ Day is a solemnity that came to us from early Christianity and its tradition to honor the saints who died a martyr's death. Also known as the Feast of All Saints, it is a Holy Day of Obligation when a bishop reads Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12a, and the prayer Litany of the Saints sounds.

The holiday was started in late Roman Empire when the persecutions of Christians reached their climax. Local churches founded a common feast day to commemorate all martyrs, known and unknown. Later, the holiday was approved to be held during the Easter season. Orthodox Church still celebrates All Saints’ Day after Easter to keep the parallel between the lives of the saints and Christ's Resurrection.

In Roman Catholic tradition, All Saints’ Day is celebrated on November 1 after Pope Gregory III had consecrated a chapel to all the martyrs in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. He was also the one to institute the annual celebration of the feast.

The day before All Saints’, we celebrate Halloween. Its title also relates to All Saints’ Day, as “a hallow” in traditional English was “a saint or holy person”. In such a way, All Hallows Eve was acknowledged by Catholic Church before it expressed its concerns about the pagan origins of the holiday. As we know, there is a lot of information about the Celtic festival Samhain, which is believed to have been incorporated with Halloween. In fact, Halloween wasn’t celebrated after Reformation because it was considered Catholic.

Another holiday is observed on November 2. It is All Soul’s Day. It is believed that you can communicate with the holy souls in Purgatory in prayers. In Catholic tradition, Purgatory is a place where a soul is purified to be able to enter the Heaven into the presence of God.

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