All Saints Day

What is All Saints Day:

All Saints' Day is a Christian holy day observed by many Western churches on November 1 and by Eastern churches on the first Sunday after Pentecost. It is a feast day celebrated by Anglicans and Roman Catholics. All Saints' Day is the day after All Hallows' Eve (Hallowe'en). It is also known as All Hallows Tide, All-Hallomas, or All Hallows' Day. It is an opportunity for believers to remember all saints and martyrs, known and unknown, throughout Christian history.

History of All Saints Day:

The first All Saints' Day occurred on May 13, 609 (C.E.) when Pope Boniface IV accepted the Pantheon as a gift from the Emperor Phocas. Remembering saints and martyrs and dedicating a specific day to them each year has been a Christian tradition since the 4th century AD, but it wasn't until 609AD that Boniface dedicated it as the Church of Santa Maria Rotonda in honor of the Blessed Virgin and all martyrs. Originally 13th May was designated as the Feast of All Holy Martyrs. Later, in 837AD, Pope Gregory IV extended the festival to remember all the saints, changed its name to Feast of All Saints and changed the date to 1st November.

Celebrations On All Saints Day:

Roman Catholics are required to attend Mass and to "Refrain from unnecessary servile work" on this day. All Saints Day begins with a vigil, the observance of which originated with the Antioch Church. The night time hours of All Saints are devoted to prayer and fasting. The Catholic ceremony for the day is a solemn one, and includes the observance of Mass, followed by prayers offered to the Virgin Mary and all the saints. Lutherans and Episcopalians remember the day by giving thanks to God for All saints/b>, living and dead.

Celebrations Around the World:

All Saints' Day is observed by Christians in many countries around the world. In countries such as Spain, Portugal and Mexico, offerings are made on this day. In countries like Belgium, Hungary and Italy people bring flowers to the graves of dead relatives. In other parts of Europe, such as Austria, Croatia, Poland, and Romania, it is customary to light candles on top of visiting graves of deceased relatives. It is also observerd in some part of Asia.