All Saints Day

The festival of All Saints Day is celebrated by the church to remember and honor all the faithful men of Christianity. The liturgical color for All Saints’ Day is white as also testified in the book of Revelations in the Holy Bible. In the life of the church, this day is a special event because it enhances the worship life of everyone who observes it. 1st November is the traditional date to observe the All Saints Day.

The origins of the festival of All Saints Day are found in the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages. An extensive practice of Christians had been reflecting on the lives and examples of the saints. This practice is followed since the earliest days of the church. The liturgical calendar was packed with the commemorations of a huge number of martyrs and saints by the early Middle Ages. A large number of these lesser observances were pooled into a joint celebration called All Saints’ Day.

On this day offerings are made in Mexico, Portugal and Spain. The play ‘Don Juan Tenorio’ is customarily performed in Spain. The celebration of ‘Dia de los Inocentes’ or Day of the Innocents, coincides with All Saints Day in Mexico. On this day deceased infants and children are honored. The tradition of Pao-por-Deus is celebrated by children in Portugal and they move door to door and receive nuts, pomegranates and cakes. In Italy, Spain, Malta, Luxembourg, France, Belgium, Hungary, Austria and Portugal people put flowers on graves of their relatives.
People follow the tradition of lighting candles and visit graves of their relatives in the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Hungary, Catholic parts of Germany, Sweden, Poland, Austria, Lithuania, Slovenia and Moldova.

All saints Day is known as ‘Undas’, ‘Todos los Santos’ and sometimes ‘Araw ng mga Namayapa’ (roughly ‘Day of the deceased’) in the Philippines. Here it is celebrated as All Soul’s Day. One day before, one after and on this day, people visit graves of their relatives, offer flowers and prayers and lit candles on graves. In short, visiting cemeteries and giving ‘Soul Cakes’ to the poor are customs and traditions of All Saints Day.

In the English-speaking countries, the festival is customarily celebrated with the hymn ‘For All the Saints’.

All Saints Day is also known by the names of All Hallows or Hallowmas. The eve of All Saints is known by the names of All Hallows Eve or Halloween. All Saints Day is a solemnity which is celebrated in the Western Christianity. This day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity to give honor to all the saints whether known or unknown.

The entire church is celebrating the feast of All Saints on 1st November for over a millennium. This feast is the most important feast of the Catholic Church. It is a divine day of obligation. In other words, it is compulsory for all Catholics to attend Mass on that day.

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