(CNN) – Every year on November 1, many Roman Catholics and other Christians around the world celebrate All Saints’ Day, which honors all the saints of the Church they are considered to have reached heaven.
In the Orthodox Church, the All Saints Day it is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Here is a review of the history and traditions of this religious holiday.
Where does All Saints’ Day come from?
Although now celebrated in November, All Saints’ Day was originally celebrated on May 13, although the origin cannot be traced with certainty, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Pope Boniface IV formally initiated what would later become known as All Saints’ Day on May 13 in 609, when he dedicated the Pantheon in Rome as a church in honor of the Virgin Mary and all the martyrs.
The current date of November 1 It was established by Pope Gregory III during his tenure (731-741) when he dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in honor of all the saints.
Although at first this celebration was limited to Rome, later, in the year 837, Pope Gregory IV ordered the official observance of All Saints’ Day every November 1 and it extended its celebration to the whole Church.
All Saints really means ALL Saints
While many canonized saints are celebrated with their own individual parties (like Saint Patrick), saints who have not been canonized do not have a particular celebration.
A sacred obligation
According Catholic OnlineWithin the Catholic Church, All Saints Day is generally considered a Holy Day of Obligation, which means that all Catholics must attend Mass unless they are handicapped by illness or some other suitable excuse.
However, the mass is not mandatory in 2021 because the party falls on Monday. As long as November 1 falls on a Monday or Saturday, Catholics are encouraged to attend Mass, but it is not required.
After the Protestant Reformation, many of the Protestant groups kept celebrating All Saints’ Day. Methodists, for example, recognize it as a day to sincerely thank God for the lives and deaths of the Saints, according to Christianity.com.
Celebrations around the world
While it is not a public holiday in the United States, All Saints Day is officially celebrated in many countries.
On France and Germany, people have the day off and businesses are closed.
In countries like Philippines, where All Saints’ Day is known as “Undas,” the day is not just to remember the saints, but to honor and remember deceased loved ones, usually with prayers, flowers, and good offerings.