Why Do We Celebrate All Saints’ Day?

Christians celebrate All Saints’ Day to observe and honor the canonized and un-canonized saints of the Church. It is annually celebrated on the day of November 1, which is also commemorated by different Eastern Orthodox Church. All Saints’ Day must not be confused from All Souls’ Day, which is celebrated on November 2—a holiday made for those who have died, and are in the purgatory.

So, to fully understand the story behind the day of the saints, here we’ll share the history and facts about All Saints’ Day.

All Saints' Day

What is All Saint’s Day?

All Saints’ Day is a holy celebration of all Christian saints of the Church. It was formally established by Pope Boniface IV on May 13 in 609 AD, who also started the holiday of All Soul’s Day. Then on the year 835 AD, Pope Gregory III officially marked November 1 as a holy day when he sanctified a chapel for all the saints and martyrs in Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Though there is no definite origin, some sources say that the tradition goes back to the fourth century when Christians hailed a festival on the first Sunday (after Pentecost) in All Hallows’ Daycommemoration of our saint’s martyrdom. And other sources claim that it was celebrated on 270 CE.

Also known as All Hallows Tide, All Hallows’ Day, or All-Halomas, the celebration is associated with the symbols of Rayed Manus Dei (hand of God)the crown, sheaf of wheat, , and saints’ images.

Why do we celebrate it?

The main reason Christians celebrate All Saint’s Day is to honor the sacrifices of our great saints and martyrs. Early Christians gathered to develop customs and traditions to commemorate the local martyrs. But during the great persecution of emperors Nero and Diocletian, martyrs grow in large number that they couldn’t assigned each one in only a day. So, they set a date that will accommodate all these saints and martyrs in a designated day and month.

How do Christians celebrate the feast?

There are various traditions from different countries in celebrating All Saints’ Day. In the United Stated, (before All Saint’s Day) children dress up in costumes trick-or-treating, door-to-door to beg for sweets.

In other countries like Mexico, traditional practices such as the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is commemorated. They build altars with ofrendas (offerings), some dances while wearing clothing with shells to wake up the dead from their noise, and most families spend their time on the altar, praying, or telling tales of the dead.

How do Christians celebrate the feast?

8 Quick Facts on All Saints’ Day

  1. The first All Saint’s Day was in May of 609, celebrated in Rome under Pope Boniface IV.
  2. In Mexico, they celebrate the Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) between October 31st and November 2nd—a colorful and festive holiday to celebrate the lives of the departed ones.
  3. White is the official liturgical color of All Saints’ Day.
  4. During this holiday, people from the countries such as France and in Philippines, visit their loved ones to restore or pray on their graves.
  5. Some All Saint’s day popular cuisine include, soul cakes, cabbage with mashed potatoes, Irish bread, and pane de morti
  6. Some of the songs that are sung on All Saint’s Day are For all the Saints, I Sing a Song of the Saints of God, and Sine Nomine.
  7. The classic play Don Juan Tenorio is traditionally performed in Spain during this holiday.
  8. The American trick-or-treat culture was firmly established in 1951, which was popularized in the Peanuts comic strip.

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