What is All Saints Day and Why Do Christians Celebrate It?

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REUTERS/Kazbek BasayevA general view shows the cemetery, where victims of the 2004 school siege are buried in the southern Russian town of Beslan, Russia, April 13, 2017.

While Halloween is considered a secular event, the day that follows it, All Saints Day, is a Christian holiday that it is celebrated in different ways across the globe.

All Saints Day is always observed on the first day of November, and it falls on a Wednesday this year. For many Christians, the day is celebrated to honor departed loved ones, believing that there is a special bond between those who are already in heaven and the living.

While remembering saints has always been a Christian tradition, beginning as early as the fourth century AD, it was only in 609 AD when Pope Boniface IV decided to honor the martyrs, both known and unknown. However, in 837AD, Pope Gregory IV moved the date of the Feast of All Holy Martyrs from May 13 to Nov. 1 and changed the name of the celebration to Feast of All Saints, or what is now known as All Saints Day.

However, All Saints Day is also referred to as All Hallows Day or Hallowmas as, after all, the word “Hallow” means a saint or somebody holy. As All Hallows Day is celebrated on November 1, Halloween is known as also known as All Hallows Eve as it is celebrated on October 31.

All Saints Day is celebrated in different ways. While the religious holiday is traditionally celebrated with the hymn “For All the Saints” by Walsham How and lighting candles to remember the dead in English-speaking countries, Guatemala, Spain and Portugal celebrate with offerings.

Mexicans believe, though, that…

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