All Saints Day is observed by Christians and Roman Catholics all over the world. The feast is celebrated in honor of all saints of the church deemed to have attained heaven. All Saints’ Day, also called All Hallows’ Day, Hallowmas, or Feast of All Saints or Solemnity of All Saints.
The feast’s primary meaning speaks about the celebration of Christ’s victory over death. This festival is also celebrated to remember the dead.
The definition according to the Christian Church is as follows, a day commemorating all the saints of the church, both known and unknown, who have attained heaven.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the feast is observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost.
History of All Saints Day
The feast is observed in November but was originally celebrated on May 13. Pope Boniface IV commemorated the All Saints Day on May 13 in 609 which was celebrated in honor of the Virgin Mary and all martyrs.
Later Pope Gregory III dedicated a chapel in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica in honor of all saints and dedicated the 1st of November to be All Saints Day.
All Saints’ Day recognizes the sainthood known only to God and some catholic observances focus on saints canonized by the Catholic Church. All Saints’ Day is considered as a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning it is compulsory to attend mass by all Catholics unless they are prevented by illness or another sufficient excuse.
According to the Protestant Reformation, it is observed as a day of giving God earnest gratitude for the lives and deaths of saints. In the Philippines, this feast is also known as “Undas” and celebrated by remembering the saints and also by honoring and paying respects to departed loved ones, with prayers, flowers, and good offerings.
The celebration of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day is done in a belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between the dead ( those in heaven) and the living (the Church). According to Catholic theology, the feast means all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven.
In Methodist theology, All Saints Day is the “giving God solemn thanks for the lives and deaths of his saints”, both “famous or obscure”.
Protestants generally commemorate All Saints’ Day to remember all Christians both past and present. The United Methodist Church celebrates the feast on the first Sunday in November where it remembers the Saints and also the departed souls of the members of the local church congregation.
The Lutheran churches, All Saints’ Day celebrates on the Sunday after Reformation.
Read more: St. Teresa of Avila Novena
Prayer for All Saints Day
Dear God, thank you for the example of the Saints. I desire to join in their company, worshiping you forever in Heaven. Please help me follow their footsteps, and yours, Jesus Christ. Please help me to conform myself to Your image, seeking Your will in all things, as the Saints did. Please help me to devote myself, and all that I do, to Your glory, and to the service of my neighbors.