Event Details

All Souls Day

Time: November 1, 2014 all day
Location: Everywhere
Event Type: day, of, rememberance
Organized By: The World
Latest Activity: Nov 8, 2013

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Event Description

All Souls' Day commemorates the faithful departed.

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Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on October 7, 2012 at 2:53pm

All Saints Day first appeared in the Antioch Church around the early fourth century as a day to honor the Church's martyrs. Originally occurring on the first Sunday after Pentecost, All Saints Day (otherwise known as the "Day of the Dead") was adopted by the Western Church in the early seventh century by Pope Boniface IV, who designated the May 13th for its observance.

All Saints Day History
In the ninth century, the All Saints Day celebration was modified to include literally all saints, becoming a church-wide observance of the Feast of All Saints on November 1st. By changing the date, the Western Church sought to incorporate a Christian focus into the ancient festival of the dead that many European clans celebrated during the first part of November. The Church's observance of a vigil the night before All Saints Day coincided with the beginning of the festival to honor the dead. That night, known as All Hallows Eve (or Halloween), retains many of the old European customs and traditions.

All Saints Day Observances
All Saints Day begins with a vigil, the observance of which originated with the Antioch Church. The night time hours of All Saints are devoted to prayer and fasting. The Catholic ceremony for the day is a solemn one, and includes the observance of Mass, followed by prayers offered to the Virgin Mary and all the saints. Lutherans and Episcopalians remember the day by giving thanks to God for all saints, living and dead. The Orthodox Churches continue to honor all Christian martyrs on the first Sunday after Pentecost.

Dia de los Muertos or 'Day of the Dead' Celebrations
One of the more peculiar All Saints Day traditions comes from Mexico. Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a two-day celebration that combines Catholic tradition and pre-Columbian culture. The first day is dedicated to "angelitos" (little angels), who are infants and children that have died. Adults who have died are memorialized on the second day.

Common traditions include joyful family gatherings at local cemeteries, and parades exhibiting elaborate wreaths, seasonal flowers, and macabre effigies of skeletons. Many gravesites are vibrantly decorated for the Day of the Dead, with special offerings displayed on commemorative altars. Fireworks are exhibited throughout the day and night in religious rituals.

In other countries, Day of the Dead customs include the lighting of votive candles and lights, offerings of special foods and drinks, and large displays of flowers. In numerous countries in Eastern Europe, All Saints Day is a public holiday where people from all lifestyles visit local cemeteries and honor deceased family members, friends, and national heroes.

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on October 7, 2012 at 2:53pm

Los Dias de los Muertos, the Days of the Dead, is a traditional Mexico holiday honoring the dead. It is celebrated every year at the same time as Halloween and the Christian holy days of All Saints Day and All Souls Day (November 1st and 2nd). Los Dias de los Muertos is not a sad time, but instead a time of remembering and rejoicing.

In many places the townspeople dress up as ghouls, ghosts, mummies and skeletons and parade through the town carrying an open coffin. The "corpse" within smiles as it is carried through the narrow streets of town. The local vendors toss oranges inside as the procession makes its way past their markets. Lucky "corpses" can also catch flowers, fruits, and candies.

In the homes families arrange ofrenda's or "altars" with flowers, bread, fruit and candy. Pictures of the deceased family members are added. In the late afternoon special all night burning candles are lit - it is time to remember the departed - the old ones, their parents and grandparents.

The next day the families travel to the cemetery, with hoes, picks and shovels. They also carry flowers, candles, blankets, and picnic baskets. They have come to clean and maintain the graves of their loved ones. The Crypts are scrubbed and swept. Colorful flowers, bread, fruit and candles are placed on the graves. Some bring guitars and radios to listen to. Some families will spend the entire night in the cemeteries. Different parts of the country celebrate this holiday a little differently. In some places an entire meal will be left overnight when the family leaves.

Skeletons and skulls are found everywhere. Chocolate, marzipan and white chocoloate skulls,coffins, and skeletons are especially enjoyed. Special loaves of bread are baked, called "pan de muertos", and decorated with "bones". Skeleton figurines, called calacas, are especially popular. Calacas usually show an active and joyful afterlife. Figures of musicians, mariachis,generals on horseback, even skeletal brides, in their white bridal gowns marching down the aisles with their boney grooms are especially fun.

The celebration of Los Dias de los Muertos, like the customs of Halloween, evolved with the influences of the
Celtics, the Romans, and the Christian holy days of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. But with added influences
from the Aztec people of Mexico. The Aztecs believed in an afterlife where the spirits of their dead would return as hummingbirds and butterflies. Every autumn Monarch Butterflies, which have summered up north in the United States and Canada, return to Mexico for the winter protection of the oyamel fir trees. The locale inhabitants welcome back the
returning butterflies, which many believe bear the spirits of their departed. The spirits to be honored during Los
Dias de los Muertos.Even images carved in the ancient Aztec monuments show this belief - the linking the spirits of the
dead and the Monarch butterfly.

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on October 7, 2012 at 2:52pm
Origin of All Saint's Day as a feast of the Church

What makes this feast so important that the Church celebrates both the night before All Saints and the day after it?

The Church has always honored those early witnesses to the Christian faith who have died in the Lord. (The Greek word for "witness" is martyr.) During the first three hundred years Christians were serverly persecuted, often suffering torture and bloody death -- because they were faithful . They refused to deny Christ, even when this denial might have saved their own lives, or the lives of their children and families.

The early history of the Church is filled with stories of the heroic faith of these of witnesses to Christ's truth. The stories of these saints -- these baptized Christians of all ages and all states in life, whose fidelity and courage led to their sanctity or holiness -- have provided models for every other Christian throughout history.

Many of those especially holy people whose names and stories were known, the Church later canonized (that is, the Church formally recognized that the life of that person was without any doubt holy, or sanctified -- a "saint" who is an example for us.) The Church's calendar contains many saint's days, which Catholics observe at Mass -- some with special festivities.

But there were thousands and thousands of early Christian martyrs, the majority of whose names are known only to God -- and throughout the history of the Church there have been countless others who really are saints, who are with God in heaven, even if their names are not on the list of canonized saints.

In order to honor the memory -- and our own debt -- to these unnamed saints, and to recall their example, the Church dedicated a special feast day -- a sort of "memorial day" -- so that all living Christians would celebrate at a special Mass the lives and witness of those "who have died and gone before us into the presence of the Lord".

This feast that we know as All Saint's Day originated as a feast of All Martyrs, sometime in the 4th century. At first it was celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. It came to be observed on May 13 when Pope St. Boniface IV (608-615) restored and rebuilt for use as a Christian church an ancient Roman temple which pagan Rome had dedicated to "all gods", the Pantheon. The pope re-buried the bones of many martyrs there, and dedicated this Church to the Mother of God and all the Holy Martyrs on May 13, 610.

About a hundred years later, Pope Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a new chapel in the basilica of St. Peter to all saints (not just to the martyrs) on November 1, and he fixed the anniversary of this dedication as the date of the feast.

A century after that, Pope Gregory IV (827-844) extended the celebration of All Saints to November 1 for the entire Church.

The vigil of this important feast, All Saint's Eve, Hallowe'en, was apparently observed as early as the feast itself.

Ever since then -- for more than a millennium -- the entire Church has celebrated the feast of All Saints on November 1st, and, of course, Hallowe'en on October 31.

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on October 7, 2012 at 2:51pm

Christians have been honoring their saints and martyrs since at least the second century AD. The Martyrdom of Polycarp, probably written near the middle of the second century, attests to this reality:

Accordingly, we afterwards took up his bones, more precious than the most exquisite jewels, and more pure than gold, and deposited them in a fitting place, so that when being gathered together, as opportunity is allowed us, with joy and rejoicing, the Lord shall grant us to celebrate the anniversary of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have already finished their course, and for the exercising and preparation of those yet to walk in their steps (18).

Initially the calendars of saints and martyrs varied from location to location, and many times local churches honored local saints. However, gradually feast days became more universal. The first reference to a general feast celebrating all saints occurs in St Ephrem the Syrian (d. AD 373). St. John Chrysostom (d. AD 407) assigned a day to the feast, the first Sunday after Pentecost, where in the Eastern Churches the feast is celebrated to this day. In the West, this date was probably originally used, and then the feast was moved to May 13th. The current observance (November 1) probably originates from the time of Pope Gregory III (d. AD 741), and was likely first observed on November 1st in Germany. This fact makes the connection of the All Saints Feast with the pagan festival Samhain less likely, since Samhain was an Irish pagan feast, rather than German.

The vigil of the Feast (the eve) has grown up in the English speaking countries as a festival in itself, All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. While many consider Halloween pagan (and in many instances the celebrations are for many), as far as the Church is concerned the date is simply the eve of the feast of All Saints. Many customs of Halloween reflect the Christian belief that on the feast's vigils we mock evil, because as Christians, it has no real power over us. However, for some Halloween is used for evil purposes, in which many Christians dabble unknowingly. David Morrison explains the proper relationship between Christians and Halloween. Various customs have developed related to Halloween. In the Middle Ages, poor people in the community begged for "soul cakes," and upon receiving these doughnuts, they would agree to pray for departed souls. This is the root of our modern day "trick-or-treat." The custom of masks and costumes developed to mock evil and perhaps confuse the evil spirits by dressing as one of their own. Some Christians visit cemeteries on Halloween, not to practice evil, but to commemorate departed relatives and friends, with picnics and the last flowers of the year. The day after All Saints day is called All Soul's Day, a day to remember and offer prayers up on behalf of all of the faithful departed. In many cultures it seems the two days share many customs. See the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church for more information.

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on October 7, 2012 at 2:51pm

By the late fourth century, this common feast was celebrated in Antioch, and Saint Ephrem the Syrian mentioned it in a sermon in 373. In the early centuries, this feast was celebrated in the Easter season, and the Eastern Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox, still celebrate it then.

The current date of November 1 was instituted by Pope Gregory III (731-741), when he consecrated a chapel to all the martyrs in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and ordered an annual celebration. This celebration was originally confined to the diocese of Rome, but Pope Gregory IV (827-844) extended the feast to the entire Church and ordered it to be celebrated on November 1.

The vigil or eve of the feast, October 31, is commonly known as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. Despite concerns among some Christians (including some Catholics) in recent years about the "pagan origins" of Halloween, the vigil was celebrated from the beginning—long before Irish practices, stripped of their pagan origins (just as the Christmas tree was stripped of similar connotations), were incorporated into popular celebrations of the feast.

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on October 7, 2012 at 2:50pm

Date: November 1
Type of Feast: Solemnity; Holy Day of Obligation (see Is All Saints Day a Holy Day of Obligation? for more details)
Readings: Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12a (full text here)
Prayers: Litany of the Saints
Other Names for the Feast: All Saints' Day, Feast of All Saints

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on October 7, 2012 at 2:50pm

Introduction to All Saints Day:

All Saints Day, the day on which Catholics celebrate all the saints, known and unknown, is a surprisingly old feast. It arose out of the Christian tradition of celebrating the martyrdom of saints on the anniversary of their martyrdom. When martyrdoms increased during the persecutions of the late Roman Empire, local dioceses instituted a common feast day in order to ensure that all martyrs, known and unknown, were properly honored.

Comment by Denise Morgan (Helping Hand) on October 18, 2010 at 4:05pm
Walpurgis Night (Walpurgisnacht) is a traditional spring festival on 30 April or 1 May in large parts of Central and Northern Europe.[1] Its celebration is associated with dancing and with bonfires.
Comment by Denise Morgan (Helping Hand) on October 18, 2010 at 4:04pm
In Western Christianity, this day is observed principally in the Catholic Church, although some churches of the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches also celebrate it. The Eastern Orthodox churches observe several All Souls' Days during the year. The Roman Catholic celebration is associated with the doctrine that the souls of the faithful who at death have not been cleansed from the temporal punishment due to venial sins and from attachment to mortal sins cannot immediately attain the beatific vision in heaven, and that they may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass (see Purgatory). In other words, when they died, they had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven. This sanctification is carried out posthumously in Purgatory.

The official name of the celebration in the Roman Rite liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church is "The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed".

Another popular name in English is Feast of All Souls. In some other languages the celebration, not necessarily on the same date, is known as Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos or de los Difuntos in Spanish-speaking countries; Yom el Maouta in Lebanon, Israel and Syria).

The Western celebration of All Souls' Day is on 2 November and follows All Saints' Day, which commemorates the departed who have attained the beatific vision. If 2 November falls on a Sunday, the Mass is of All Souls, but the Office is that of the Sunday. However, Morning and Evening Prayer (Lauds and Vespers) for the Dead, in which the people participate, may be said. In pre-1969 calendars, which some still follow, and in the Anglican Communion, All Souls Day is instead transferred, whenever 2 November falls on a Sunday, to the next day, 3 November, as in 2008.

The Eastern Orthodox Church dedicates several days throughout the year to the dead, mostly on Saturdays, because of Jesus' resting in the tomb on Saturday.

Folklore

The origins of All Souls' Day in European folklore and folk belief are related to customs of ancestor veneration[citation needed] practiced worldwide, such as the Chinese Ghost Festival or the Latin American Day of the Dead. The Roman custom was that of the Lemuria.

In Tirol, cakes are left for them on the table and the room kept warm for their comfort. In Brittany, people flock to the cemeteries at nightfall to kneel, bareheaded, at the graves of their loved ones, and to anoint the hollow of the tombstone with holy water or to pour libations of milk on it. At bedtime, the supper is left on the table for the souls.

In Bolivia, many people believe that the dead eat the food that is left out for them.

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