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Nov 1st | Solemnity of All Saints

All Saints Day Poland

All Saints Day in an Oswiecim cemetery, Poland

All Saints’ Day (in the Catholic Church officially the Solemnity of All Saints and also called All Hallows or Hallowmas), often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November in Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown.

“Hallows” meaning “saints,” and “mas” meaning “Mass”; the preceding evening (Halloween) is the “Vigil or Eve of All Hallows”.

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In Portugal and Spain, oferendas (offerings) are made on this day. In Portugal children celebrate the Pão-por-Deus tradition. In Spain, the play Don Juan Tenorio is traditionally performed. In Mexico, All Saints coincides with the celebration of “Día de los Inocentes” (Day of the Innocents), the first day of the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebration, honoring deceased children and infants. In Portugal, children go door to door where they receive cakes, nuts and pomegranates.

Map of Europe

In Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain people bring flowers to the graves of dead relatives.

In Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Croatia, Austria, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Catholic parts of Germany, the tradition is to light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives.

In the Philippines, this day, called “Undas“, “Todos los Santos” (literally “All Saints”), and sometimes “Araw ng mga Namayapa” (approximately “Day of the deceased”) is observed as All Souls’ Day. This day and the one before and one after it is spent visiting the graves of deceased relatives, where prayers and flowers are offered, candles are lit and the graves themselves are cleaned, repaired and repainted.

Roman Catholic Obligation

In the Catholic Church All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning going to Mass on the date is required (unless one is ill or elderly). However, in the United States, All Saints Day is not considered a Holy Day of Obligation when it falls on Monday or Saturday, as well as having no obligation at all in Hawaii.

Pope 2009

In terms of Western Christian theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. in the Roman Catholic Church, the next day, All Souls’ Day, specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven.

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