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All Saints’ Day. What Is The History And Meaning Of This Feast?

In Western churches, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant, the feast of All Saints Day is celebrated on 1 November in the Gregorian calendar. It should be noted that not all Protestants practice the cult of saints, but some Lutheran churches celebrate this feast. According to tradition, on the night of the Enlightenment, the gates between the two worlds open, and only now those who have left us can come to visit us. For this reason, the popular proverb about the dead is only well respected with holiness, at least in the cemetery. Interestingly, regardless of religion, believers go out to greet sleeping relatives and friends with flowers and candles.

All Saints’ Day, Enlightenment or Enlightenment, November 1 is the day of remembrance of the dead, the day when our thoughts are piously directed to loved ones who have passed away. It is celebrated in many Christian countries around the world. Believers go especially to church and cemetery, clean the graves and beautify them with flowers, in memory of those who once accompanied them on the path of life.

In Western, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant churches, the feast is celebrated on November 1 in the Gregorian calendar. Note that not all Protestants practice the worship of saints, but some Lutheran churches still celebrate this holiday. The Feast of All Saints or All Saints is also known as All Saints’ Day. It is a Christian holiday celebrating all saints, known and unknown. Thus, in Western churches, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant, the feast is celebrated on 1 November in the Gregorian calendar.

What day is All Saints Day?

Indeed, in the Roman Catholic Church, the Feast of All Saints precedes by one day the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed. Whose solemnity was fixed on 2 November, so two centuries after the creation of the feast of All Saints. Also, in the Eastern churches, namely the Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches, the first Sunday after Pentecost is All Saints Sunday. The equivalent of All Saints Sunday in the Western calendar.

All Saints’ Day, the Day of Illumination or the Luminations, 1 November is the day on which the saints are remembered, the day on which our thoughts turn piously to our loved ones who have passed away. It is celebrated in many Christian countries around the world. The faithful go especially to church and cemeteries, cleaning graves and decorating them with flowers, in memory of those who once accompanied them on their life’s journey.

So on the night of 1 November, each grave becomes a small altar of light. Also, thousands and thousands of candles are lit in memory of those who have passed into eternity. It is also said that on the Day of the Dead the gates of the Underworld open and the dead come to visit the living.

Whom do we pray to on All Saints Day?

On the Mexican holiday known as All Saints’ Day, families greet the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink, and celebration. We celebrate the saints and especially the patron saint.

Indeed, it is known that on All Saints’ Day, we pray to St. Meliton of Sardis who is the author of the first preserved Christian homily, written around 160 AD. And also spoke on the occasion of the Passover celebration. The information about the author is scarce, it is limited to a few short passages preserved in the work of Eusebius of Caesarea. However, fragments preserved from the vast work of Meliton of Sardis give us an excellent opportunity. To discuss the main aspects of his theological contribution.

St. Anatolia sent epistles to the bishops, urging them to anathematize the beginners of heresies, that is, Nestorius, Eutychius, and Dioscorus. St. Anatolia followed St. Flavian and, pastoring the church with the right faith for eight years. Moved to the Lord, leaving St. Gennady in his place.

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What is All Saints Day and why do we celebrate it?

In the Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches, the weekly day for the general remembrance of the dead is Saturday. Of all the Saturdays in a church year, two are specifically dedicated to the general remembrance of the dead: the Saturday before Lent Sunday and the Saturday before the Holy Spirit is poured out.

All Saints’ Day is the commemoration of all Christian martyrs, a feast that dates back to the 4th century AD. We celebrate All Saints’ Day because it honors all the saints. So, the feast falls on the first Sunday after Pentecost, and it also remains fixed to this day in the Church.

According to tradition, on the Night of Enlightenment, the gates between the two worlds open, and only now can the departed among us come to visit. For this reason, the popular proverb “about saints, only good” is observed with sanctity, at least at the cemetery. Interestingly, irrespective of religion, the faithful come out to greet their relatives and friends with flowers and candles.

What are the origins of the Holy Day of All Saints?

In Ireland and Wales, people feared the night of Samhain, during which evil spirits might seem to haunt the world of the living. To avoid those “dark” presences and to remove the danger, the ancients lit fires in the open air. This night is also a bridge between the world of the living and the world of the dead. The sparks opened the doors of the houses so that the depositions of their families could return to living for a few hours.

All Saints’ Day does not have its origins in the United States, as one might think, but is much older and comes from Western Europe. It is derived from Samhain or Samonios and was celebrated with celery. It was kept in front of the ruins, held in late autumn, after harvest, and marked the beginning of a new year.

However, the tradition faded with the advent of Christianity in that region around the 5th century AD. Pope Boniface IV said in 610 that this feast was pagan and decided to institute the feast of All Saints. Celebrated at the time on May 13, All Saints’ Day changed until the end of the 8th century and was set for November 1 in Western Europe. Some historians see it as a clear reference to that Samhain holiday and an obvious desire to “Christianize” Samhain. 

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When was All Saints Day first celebrated?

In the beginning, the saints were generally called all Christians, that is, believers or members of the first Christian communities, who had received baptism and had therefore passed on to a new and pure life, being reborn by grace; with this appellation, the Holy Apostles address them in their epistles.

The Day of the Dead was first celebrated in 609 AD, on 13 May. So, the earliest feasts of the saints, the earliest recorded in Christian calendars. Were the anniversaries of the deaths of the martyrs and the various local bishops. Indeed, every year, Christians would gather at the tombs of the martyrs. On which churches were usually built, or at the place where they commemorated their memory. And there they would pray and pray, read the martyr acts or the history of the suffering and death of the celebrated martyrs and celebrate the Holy Eucharist.

To this day, the Christian Church usually records in calendars and celebrates the day of the death of the saints, that is, the date of their passage into heaven, considered as their birthday, into eternal and true life, where there is neither sorrow nor grief nor sighing. Only the Mother of God and St. John the Baptist are exceptions to this rule; they have the privilege of celebrating both their christening and birth, as well as other events in their lives.

Key Verse related to The Saints 

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. So walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Also, it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.”

Ephesians 5:8-13 (NIV)

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Is November 1st a Catholic holiday?

Saints are convinced of their sins. Therefore, judging themselves worthy of hell, they receive from God Heaven and, as a gift, salvation. The perfect do not only feel the thorn of their sins but find in themselves murmuring all the sins of men. For through the perfect God’s holiness is reflected as through a mirror, and in them again all human nature feels its pain and sin.

November 1st has been declared All Saints’ Day. Indeed, the righteous make the balance between God and men: acquiring from men repentance and God’s mercy. When the righteous are lacking among men, love cannot be fulfilled, but justice must be fulfilled.

It is only to them that the Almighty God permits to wage war against the evildoer of man’s nature. And with the sword of the Spirit unceasingly to burn him. But it is not to him that their eyes are turned, but having all their flesh absorbed in the gift. They have made themselves like scorch in an unburnt stake, and having been pierced by the love of God. Even so much as they are in this world, they burn the “master” of it in their hearts like a sword of venom.

Why do we light candles on All Saints Day?

The Church canonized some of them earlier, others later, and others are to be placed on her calendar for veneration, establishing days of worship. Even if they are not all known to us, they are known by God and are prayed for. But it is important to remember that the Church proclaims saints only to those whose holiness has been ascertained and perceived by God’s people. Therefore, she does not proclaim saints to await future proofs of their holiness.

On All Saints’ Day, we light candles to reach our light in God’s kingdom. Holiness is the state to which we are all called. It is the state of perfection that is founded on the holiness of God. It’s not the product of our works, but it does not exclude them. God gives us the power to become holy, and this power is the grace of the Holy Spirit.

It is wrong to see holiness as something that is only of the past. Saints are still among us today, and those of the past are still tacitly present in our lives. About the presence and help of saints in our daily life, Archbishop Antonie Plamadeala said: “Entered into the category of saints, a pro-slave by God. They have become somehow timeless or, more precisely, of all times and contemporaries of all people on the trajectory of history.

Read more: Life of the Apostles. Relevant facts about their lives

Do people go to the graveyard on November 1st?

1 November is the day when people turn their thoughts, more than usual, to loved ones who have passed away. Also known as the Day of the Dead, All Saints’ Day. The Day of Illumination, or the Luminations. 1st of November is celebrated in many Christian countries around the world.

Since the Middle Ages, people spent the afternoon in graveyards on 1 November after the All Saints’ Day Mass. Praying for the souls of the deceased. This explains the origin of the first day of Brumar as a day of remembrance for the dead.

Hence the custom of going to the cemetery on 1 November, carrying flowers and wreaths, lighting candles, and saying prayers for the souls of the dead. In churches, vespers are celebrated in memory of the departed.

Prayer to All the Saints

“O holy company of those who have served Christ, remembering your wonderful deeds, so I give you praise according to your goodness: Rejoice, you stars of the spiritual heaven! Rejoice, together with the heavenly host! You candles of the Church of Christ! Rejoice, saints through whom the Lord imparts to all people healing!

Amen.

Legends and customs related to All Saints’ Day

  • In Protestant churches there is no Saints’ Day, but Protestant, Evangelical. And Reformed believers also go to cemeteries, bring flowers, light candles, and pray. 
  • In time, the Orthodox Church took over this feast dedicated to the souls of the deceased. Which thus became ecumenical. The Enlightenment is one of the ancient cults of the dead. The Day of the Dead is also celebrated by Orthodox priests who. At the request of the families, come to the cemetery to celebrate services of remembrance for the souls of the dead.
  • A few days before, Christians go to the cemetery and clean the graves. And on 1 November they bring flowers to the cemetery, especially chrysanthemums, flowers typical of autumn and this holiday. The graves are decorated with flowers and wreaths. Candles are lit for the souls of the deceased.
  • In folk legends, the night of 1 November is the night when the gates of the Underworld open and the dead and saints come to visit the living.

Primary Takeaways

  • The choice of 1 November seems to have been made for both symbolic and practical reasons. October is the month of harvesting the fruits of the fields, orchards, and vineyards. As we enter the month of November, man begins to enjoy the fruits of his labor for the year.
  • This is a fitting occasion to contemplate the fruits of the vine which is Christ, of the apostolic activity of the Church. Of the efforts and sacrifices of men of goodwill, fruits embodied in the saints in heaven.
  • The procurement of food and drink for the crowds at the feast posed problems which, on 1 November. After the harvest month, were easier to solve than on 13 May.

Conclusion

So The Feast of All Saints has its origins in the practice of the Church of Antioch. Which even in the early centuries celebrated with great pomp all the martyrs of Christianity. And also known and unknown, on the first Sunday after the Solemnity of the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Considering that the strength, courage, and steadfastness of the martyrs are par excellence the work of the Holy Spirit. Promised and given to His Church by Christ the Saviour.

Indeed, The Church of Rome adopted this feast in the 6th century. One hundred years later, Pope Boniface IV fixed the date of the feast of all the martyrs on 1 November. The day on which the Roman Pantheon, transformed into a Christian church. It was consecrated and dedicated to the Mother of God and all the martyrs. Receiving the name Sancta Maria ad martyrs.