November 1 is Halloween but how not many people know that the holiday precedes a religious festival celebrated as All Saints’ Day that comes just after the spooky day.
UK has been celebrating All Saints’ Day for centuries. Historians coincide the festival with the ancient Celtic festival Samhain that is considered the inspiration behind modern Halloween celebrations.
What is All Saints’ Day?
It is a tradition of honouring the all known and unknown religious saints’ throughout the history of Christianity. The root of the festival can be traced back to the 4th Century but it developed into a festival only 7th Century when Pope Boniface IVincluded all martyrs in the commemorations.
In earlier times, All Saints’ Day was celebrated in the month of April but the date was changed to coincide with Halloween in the mid-9th Century. The objective of this day is to strengthen the bond between those in the heaven and those on the Earth. And for this reason, the people commemorate the departed souls by paying their tributes. This day is followed by All Souls’ Day on which people pay tributes to their family members and friends.
All Saints’ Day celebrations
It is a public holiday in Portugal and Spain. Portuguese children go door to door to receive cakes and sweets according to “Pao-por-Deus” tradition. In Mexico, the day is dedicated to children that spend the day in celebrating the departed souls. Other European countries like Italy, Germany, Poland and Sweden have developed a custom of visiting graves of deceased relatives and lighting candles on this day.