Catholicism

What does All Saints Day mean to Catholics and when did people begin celebrating it?

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2013-02-02 13:44:32
2013-02-02 13:44:32
Halloween and All Saint's DayHalloween is the evening before All Saints' Day. The word comes from medieval England's All Hallows' eve or Hallows. The word was later made longer into Halloween. October 31st was celebrated with traditional games and customs. Traditionally beggars would go from door to door asking for cakes in exchange for prayers for the dead. This is one source of the modern tradition of trick or treating comes from. All Saint's Day was a feast of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and a day on which churches glorify God for all God's saints, known and unknown. Historical roots of the feast dayThe feast traces back to the 7th and 8th century when the number of Martyrs became so abundant that a memorial day was introduced.

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All Soul's Day is All Hallow's Eve (Halloween). This is the day Catholics are called to remember and pray for the souls of our deceased family & friends in Purgatory. We are to offer prayers, personal sacrifices or sufferings in union with Christ as an offering to help our loved ones (and others) be released from Purgatory (final purification) quickly so that they may enter into the Beatific Vision (God's Presence) sooner than they would if no one prayed & sacrificed for them. Anyone who has read Dante's Purgatorio can see how this day morphed into images of ghosts and goblins. It is on All Soul's Day that we, personally, can also receive special graces (indulgences) by making the effort -- taking the time -- to pray for the souls of our loved ones. Praying at our loved one's grave site is recommended if at all possible. So this is most likely where the scary cemetery Halloween images emerged too although there's nothing creepy about visiting the graves of and praying for our loved ones who have passed. It's normal and healthy and this prayer is traditionally done during the daylight hours.

All Saint's Day (All Hallows) is the day Catholics (and some other Christians) celebrate the Saints -- all those of us who have already entered into the Beatific Vision. On this day, Catholics specifically ask the Blessed Mother and all the known Catholic Saints to pray for us and to intercede for us with Jesus.

Over this two-day period, the Catholic Church is recognizing and honoring the full and seamlesss Family of God which transcends -- is not confined by -- space and time . . .and includes: (1)the Church Militant (those of us still fighting the good fight on the earth); (2) the Church Suffering (those of us who have passed this world and are en route to the next -- and encompassed in a state of purifying fire before they may enter into perfect communion with God (the Beatific Vision); and (3) the Church Victorious (those of us -- the Saints-- who are already in the presence of God, the Beatific Vision.

We, the Church Militant, can pray and make sacrifices for the Church Suffering. And, the Church Victorious can pray and intercede with Christ on our behalf. I believe that the Church Suffering can also pray for us even though they are in Purification/Purgatory. All those in Purgatory are saved -- all will go to Heaven.

This is one of the ways in which The Catholic Church attempts to acknowledge, albeit feebly, that vast and intertwined relationship between God and man and man's relationship to man-- a relationship that is, in reality, like a seamless thread that transcends even the human confines of time and space.

Catholic AnswerThe above answers are just fine except for a little chronological problem. All Hallow's Eve is the evening before All Saints Day (November 1), so All Hallow's Eve (Halloween) is actually the 31st of October, all Souls Day is the day following All Saints Day - November 2.
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