All Saints' Day
November 1 in the West; first Sunday after Pentecost in the East
In Roman Catholic, Anglican, and many Protestant churches, the first day of November is a celebration of all the Christian saints—particularly those who have no special feast days of their own. Also known as All-Hallomas or All Hallows' Day, the idea for this holy day goes back to the fourth century, when the Greek Christians kept a festival on the first Sunday after Pentecost (in late May or early June) in honor of all martyrs and saints. When the Pantheon at Rome was converted into a Christian place of worship in the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV dedicated it to the Virgin and all the martyrs, and the anniversary of this event was celebrated on May 1.
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
221 Dorcas St.
South Melbourne, VIC 3205 Australia
61-3-9696-2488; fax: 61-3-9696-3583
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 745
BkDays-1864, vol. II, p. 520
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 36, 181, 573, 1056
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 197
FestWestEur-1958, pp. 17, 47
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 427
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 632
OxYear-1999, pp. 440, 441
RelHolCal-2004, pp. 105, 123
SaintFestCh-1904, p. 470
Celebrated in: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Finland, France, Gabon, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mauritius, Monaco, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Congo, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Timor-Leste, Togo
All Saints' Day (France)
Both All Saints' Day, La Toussaint, and All Souls' Day, Le Jour des Morts, are widely observed in France. All Saints' Day is, in fact, a legal holiday in France. Church services in memory of all the saints are held on November 1, but by evening the focus turns toward the dead. Cemeteries everywhere are crowded with people who come to clean and decorate the family graves. All Souls' Day, November 2, is dedicated to prayers for the dead who are not yet glorified. Church services are often followed by visits to the churchyard, and families get together to pay homage to the deceased.
In Brittany, pancakes and cider are set out for the dead on the eve of All Souls' Day, and children play practical jokes in the cemeteries—such as placing lit candles inside skulls, or rattling bones in empty pails—to frighten visitors.
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 842
FestWestEur-1958, p. 47
Celebrated in: France
All Saints' Day (Louisiana)
All Saints' Day is celebrated in many areas of the United States where there are large Roman Catholic populations. In New Orleans, for example, it is a legal holiday on which Catholics gather in local cemeteries and decorate the graves with flowers. The descendants of the French Canadian (also known as Acadian or Cajun) settlers around St. Martinsville, Louisiana, observe this day in the traditional French manner by laying wreaths and bouquets on even the most obscure graves and, as darkness falls, by lighting cand les throughout the cemeteries in anticipation of All Souls' Day on November 2.
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 746
DictDays-1988, p. 3
Celebrated in: Louisiana
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.