The Importance of All-Saints Day


Halloween is a world-wide celebration of costumes, trick-or-treating, decorations, and more. With this holiday being so heavily acknowledged, many overlook All-Saints day. All-Saints day is a day of commemorating all the saints in the church, both known and unknown. It is very important to understand the meaning of this holiday and learn why it is so heavily celebrated.

Today, All-Saints day is celebrated on November 1st, but it originally started on May 13th. The current date was established by Pope Gregory III sometime between 731-731 AD. While many canonized saints have their own individual feast days, All-Saints day is to recognize those whose sainthood is only known to God. Within the Catholic Church, it is known as a holy day of obligation which requires Catholics to attend mass.

All-Saints day is connected to Halloween. Halloween is formally known as Hallows Eve; “hallow” means holy. This refers to the fact that Halloween is the “evening before holy persons”.  Although Halloween may not be known as a religious holiday or celebrity as a religious holiday, its origins prove that it is. Halloween begin in Samhain as a catholic Celtic celebration. Many of these celebrations were passed on as All-Saints day celebrations.

Many different cultures have their own variations of All-Saints day. In France and Germany, people have the day off from work and businesses are closed. In the Philippines, this day is known as Undas. They not only take time to remember the departed, but pay their respects with flowers, prayers, and good offerings. In Hispanic cultures, it is known as Día de los Muertos which translates as Day of the Dead. Families welcome back the souls of the deceased by gathering together with food, drinks, parties, and activities that the dead would have enjoyed. Another big tradition is decorating an altar for their passed loved one. Candles and pictures of the family typical cover the altar. They find it insulting to mourn with sadness and want to honor their lost loved ones with celebrations in the community.

At Assumption, this holiday is recognized and celebrated. Each year, the school attends an all-school mass that honors those in our community whom we have lost. Towards the closing of the prayer service, each Assumption alumni who has passed over the year name will appear. Spanish classes take part in Day of the Dead celebrations by learning about the history behind it and how Hispanic cultures honor it. Students also create crafts and projects to honor their loved ones who have passed. A common activity is decorating a picture of an altar. This is to reflect the popular Hispanic tradition of decorating altars. Students draw pictures of their family members with decorations that they would place on the altar.

This day is a very important holiday about thinking of our loved ones and celebrating their life. It is widely commemorated in different parts of the world and is adapted by many cultures. Although Halloween is a very fun holiday, we must not overlook All-Saints day and spend time honoring each saint.

By: Riley Givens