Posted by WLIEG on 1. Nov 2009

All Saints' Day is observed on the first Sunday in November to remember deceased members. A candle is lit as each person's name is called out, followed by a prayer offered for each soul.  Many Latin American communities in the United States hold celebrations around November 1 and 2, linking with All Saints’ Day and All Souls' Day (November 2). These celebrations are part of the Day of the Dead, also known as Día de los Muertos.



According to some sources, the idea for All Saints' Day goes back to the fourth century when the Greek Christians kept a festival on the first Sunday after Pentecost (in late May or early June) in honor of all martyrs and saints. Other sources say that a commemoration of “All Martyrs” began to be celebrated as early as 270 CE but no specific month or date is recorded. Pope Gregory IV made All Saints' Day an authorized holiday in 837 CE. It is speculated that the chosen date for the event, November 1, may have been an attempt to supplant the pagan Festival of the Dead (also known as Samhain or the feast of Saman, lord of death).


All Saints' Day, which is celebrated globally, is closely tied with All Souls’ Day, which was first instituted at the monastery in Cluny in 993 CE and quickly spread among Christians. All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day are also closely linked with Halloween, which is a shortened for the name “All Hallows' Even”.



Symbols commonly associated with All Saints’ Day are:

  • A sheaf of wheat.
  • Rayed Manus Dei (hand of God).
  • The crown.
  • Symbols (including images) of individual saints.



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