Thinking Out Loud

October 31, 2008

But Will Google Have a Graphic for All Saints Day?

Filed under: Christianity, Church — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:43 am

Probably not.  Christian special days usually don’t rate the same attention.   But I’ll be happy to be proved wrong tomorrow morning.    All Saints Day is November 1st; the day after Halloween.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

The Western Christian holiday of All Saints Day falls on November 1, followed by All Souls’ Day on November 2, and is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Church.

The origin of the festival of All Saints as celebrated in the West dates to May 13, 609 or 610, when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs; the feast of the dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since. The chosen day, May 13, was a pagan observation of great antiquity, the culmination of three days of the Feast of the Lemures, in which the malevolent and restless spirits of the dead were propitiated. Medieval liturgiologists based the idea that this Lemuria festival was the origin of that of All Saints on their identical dates and on the similar theme of “all the dead”.[citation needed]

The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731–741) of an oratory in St. Peter’s for the relics “of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world”, with the day moved to November 1.[5]

This usually fell within a few weeks of the Celtic holiday of Samhain, which had a theme similar to that of Lemuria, but which was also a harvest festival. The Irish, whose holiday Samhain had been, did not celebrate All Hallows Day on this November 1 date, as extant historical documents attest that the celebration in Ireland took place in the spring: “…the Felire of Oengus and the ‘Martyrology of Tallaght’ prove that the early medieval churches [in Ireland] celebrated the feast of All Saints on April 20.”[6]

A November festival of all the saints was already widely celebrated on November 1 in the days of Charlemagne. It was made a day of obligation throughout the Frankish empire in 835, by a decree of Louis the Pious, issued “at the instance of Pope Gregory IV and with the assent of all the bishops”, which confirmed its celebration on November 1. The octave was added by Pope Sixtus IV (1471—1484).[3]

The festival was retained after the reformation in the calendar of the Church of England and in many Lutheran churches. In the Lutheran churches, such as the Church of Sweden, it assumes a role of general commemoration of the dead. In the Swedish calendar, the observance takes place on the Saturday between October 31 and November 6. In many Lutheran Churches, it is moved to the first Sunday of November. It is also celebrated by other Protestants of the English tradition, such as the United Church of Canada and the Wesleyan Church. [1]

In the United Methodist Church, All Saint’s Day is on the first Sunday in November. It is held to remember all those that have passed away from the local church congregation. A candle is lit by the Acolyte as each person’s name is called out. Then, a liturgical prayer is offered for each soul in Heaven

Read the full Wikipedia article here.

>>>UPDATE:  The blog, Slice of Laodacia also had an All Saints Day post which contains ALL ELEVEN VERSES to the song, “For All The Saints.”   This paragraph was its link, but then that blog died, so in 2010, I posted them myself, as you can read here.


  1. If there were going to have a Christian holiday symbol, they could have had something up for Reformation Day, which is today.

    Comment by Jim — October 31, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

  2. Our friend Graham sent us this from Christian musician John Fischer.

    + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

    Halloween on Oak Street
    by John Fischer

    Last Friday night, Halloween night, we gave out over 1,600 pieces of candy and ran out a little after eight o’clock. Our neighbor, Anne, who had four of her friends helping her out, was monitoring trick-or-treaters with a clicker, and at 8:30 with mostly only teenagers left her official count was at 936. That’s children only. Throw in their parents and you have two to three thousand people on our street. Bets were on as to whether or not Anne’s trick-or-treater count would reach a thousand. This is obviously unusual for Halloween, but that’s because our street has a history.

    We bought our house on Oak Street in October 1999. Our new neighbors warned us about being prepared for a deluge on Halloween. We actually hadn’t moved in yet, but we left a big bowl of candy out anyway. Based on what we now know about Halloween on Oak Street, that bowl was probably empty by 5:30.

    We’re not sure exactly how this got started, but it seems to grow bigger every year. Everybody gets into the front yard decorating game. Sometimes I wonder if they bus kids in for this. Three years ago, the Police Department started blocking off traffic on the 2-block stretch that is our Halloween gauntlet, and that has increased the crowds even more, now that parents can let their children move around freely without worrying about cars in the street. Actually, a car couldn’t make it up our street anyway, because it is teeming with people. It’s like Main Street, Disneyland at closing time.

    If I were to ask anybody in those thousands of people if what we were all doing out there had anything remotely to do with Satan, they would have looked at me as if I were speaking a foreign language. Now, am I being naïve? Am I being sucked into a dark plot? Are all those little princesses and batmen really being drawn into an evil net over this? Is this the devil’s clandestine victory?

    Actually, I think the devil’s victory was in convincing a nation of Christians that Halloween was his day, and getting them to abandon their homes for safer alternative celebrations on the one night of the year it’s a lock that all the kids in the neighborhood are coming over. That’s a lot of lights (both physical and spiritual) in a lot of neighborhoods effectively extinguished.

    “He who seeks good, finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it” (Proverbs 11:27). If you’re looking for Satan, don’t be surprised when you find him. Focus on evil and it will find you. On the other hand, you can focus on good and find it everywhere. How do you want to live, in celebration of the light or in fear of the darkness?

    One good way to make sure this doesn’t happen again would be to check what is the main motivation driving the action of Christians as to their non-participation in a cultural event. If fear is any part of it, it’s not from God.

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — November 3, 2008 @ 10:23 am

  3. […] last year’s more informative post about tomorrow’s special day, All Saints Day, you can read it here.   This year All Saints Sunday coincides with the day […]

    Pingback by Thoughts on That Most UnChristian of all Days « Thinking Out Loud — October 30, 2010 @ 10:52 pm

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