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All Saints’ Day History and Facts for Kids


  • All Saints’ Day is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November by parts of Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown.
  • In Western Christian theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven.
  • In the Catholic Church and many Anglican churches, the next day specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven.
  • Christians who celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day do so in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual bond between those in purgatory (the ‘Church Suffering’), those in heaven (the ‘Church triumphant’), and the living (the ‘Church militant’).
  • According to tradition, it was Leo who expanded the feast from a commemoration of All Martyrs to a general commemoration of All Saints, whether martyrs or not.
  • The Western Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day falls on 1 November, followed by All Souls’ Day on 2 November, and is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.
  • The origin of the festival of All Saints celebrated in the West dates to 13 May 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.
  • 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 1 November.
  • It is also celebrated by other Protestants of the English tradition, such as the United Church of Canada, the Methodist churches, and the Wesleyan Church.
  • It is held, not only to remember Saints, but also to remember all those who have died who were members of the local church congregation.
  • In many Lutheran churches, All Saints’ Day and Reformation Day are observed concurrently on the Sunday before or after those dates, given Reformation Day is observed in Protestant Churches on 31 October.
  • The observance of Reformation Day may be immediately followed by a reading of those members of the local congregation who have died in the past year in observance of All Saints’ Day.
  • In Catholicism, All Saints’ Day is a Holy Day of Obligation in many (but not all) countries, meaning going to Mass on the date is required unless one has a good reason to be excused, such as illness.
  • Portuguese children celebrate the Pão-por-Deus tradition, going door-to-door where they receive cakes, nuts and pomegranates.
  • While traditionally, Filipinos observed this day solemnly by visiting the graves of deceased relatives, offering prayers and flowers, lighting candles, cleaning and repairing the graves, this tradition is slowly dying.
  • In English-speaking countries, the festival is traditionally celebrated with the hymn “For All the Saints” by William Walsham How.