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History and Custom of All Saints Day

October 12, 2018

Germans are intent on preserving the history of Germany through their festival traditions. All round the year, Germans observe festivals for nearly all occasions. Every festival in Germany is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm. Several of the country’s popular festivals including Oktoberfest, Kinderzeche or Children’s Party, Fasching, Traditional Christmas Markets etc mark Germany’s historical events and are celebrated with revelry, traditional costumes and parades.

German calendar is jam packed with festivities that combine age old customs with modern carousing. Here’s a glimpse of the forthcoming celebration of Germany All Saints Day. Also known as All Hallows’ Day, Feast of All Saints, Hallowmas or Solemnity of All Saints, this day is observed on 1st November to commemorate those deemed by the Catholic Church to have attained sainthood. The period is marked with the bunch of other festival like ‘All Hallows Eve’ celebrated the preceding day.  The following day i.e. 2nd November observes ‘All Souls Day’ to remember all the Departed Believers.

The belief behind All Saints Day Celebration varies among different communities. Here are a few reasons for All Saints Day Celebration:

1. All Saints Day and All Souls Day celebration among Christians stems from a belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between the living and those in heaven.

2. In Catholic theology, All Saints Day commemorates all the departed souls who have attained bliss in heaven.

3. In Methodist theology, All Saints Day prayer is observed on this day to thank God for the lives and deaths of his saints, famous or obscure.

History of All Saints Day

All Saints Day is surprisingly an old feast that originated from the tradition of celebrating the anniversary of martyrdom of saints. During the persecutions of the late Roman Empire, when the number of martyrdoms increased, local dioceses decided a common feast to honor all the martyrs, known and unknown. In the early century celebration of the lives of the saints was observed with Christ’s Resurrection.

All Saints Day Date: Why it is observed on 1st November?

Pope Gregory III (731-741) instituted the current date of All Saints Day Celebration i.e. November 1. The celebration was originally confined to the diocese of Rome. However, Pope Gregory IV (827-844) extended the feast to the entire Church and ordered it to be celebrated on 1st of November.

All Saints Day Celebration & All Saints Day Prayer

In Western Christian practice, the All Saints Day Prayer ceremony to commemorate all the faithful departed begins at Vespers on the evening of 31st October, i.e. All Hallows’ Eve and ends at the close of 1st November.

In Germany, All Saints Day celebration includes prayer service with lightening candles or small lamps on deceased relatives’ graves. The grave sites are decorated with lay floral arrangements and fir-branch and pine-cone wreaths.

At home, families gather together for large meals. The next morning, on All Souls Day, people attend mass and offer prayers for the dead.