All Saints Day

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The forerunners of Christ with saints and martyrs, Fra Angelico (1423/24)

All Saints' Day ( Latin: Festum Omnium Sanctorum ) is a Christian festival at which all saints are remembered, the “glorified members of the Church who have already come to perfection”, both known and unknown. The festival is celebrated in the western church on November 1st , in the Orthodox churches on the first Sunday after Pentecost .


All Saints' Day is a solemn festival in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church . It is also a mandatory holiday in almost all dioceses . The texts of the scriptures readings in Holy Mass are Rev 7 : 2–4.9–14  EU , 1 Jn 3.1–3  EU and the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, Mt 5: 1–12a  EU .

In the Anglican Church it has the rank of Principal Feast . The liturgical color is white.

In the Lutheran churches it can be celebrated as the day of remembrance of the saints (here the liturgical color is red), similarly in other Protestant churches.


Rudolph Blättler, woodcut : Communion of the saints with the risen one

In the course of the first few centuries, the increasing number of saints made it increasingly difficult to commemorate each saint on a separate festival. Annual commemoration days for the deceased already existed in ancient Christianity. Since the beginning of the 4th century, the Eastern Church has expressly found All Saints' Feasts, which were celebrated as the Lord's Day of all saints on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost. In the Western Church , Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon of the Virgin Mary and All Martyrs (Sancta Maria ad Martyres), previously consecrated to all the gods of Rome, on May 13, 609 or 610, and ordered an annual celebration, initially on the Friday after Easter, as the festival content is strongly influenced by Easter and the Passover mystery . Pope Gregory III consecrated a chapel in the basilica of St. Peter all Saints over a hundred years later , setting the public holiday for the city of Rome on November 1st.

In Ireland at the end of the 8th century the festival was held on November 1st, the beginning of the Celtic year and the beginning of winter; via Northumbria , this custom gradually spread throughout the Western Church through the Irish Scottish missionaries . On this day the festival began to be celebrated, especially in France, sponsored by Emperor Ludwig the Pious . Pope Gregory IV set 835 All Saints' Day for the entire Western Church on November 1st. The close reference to Easter was abandoned, instead “dying nature, through which the eternal world of the saints becomes visible”, is the background foil for the festival, according to the theologian Manfred Becker-Huberti .

Since the end of the 10th century, starting from the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny , on November 2nd an additional memorial day with All Souls' Day has been held for all those who, according to the Catholic understanding, are in the purgatory and have not yet reached full communion with God.

All Saints' Day as a public holiday

Romantic cemetery in Maria Enzersdorf on All Saints' Day

In the Catholic cantons of Switzerland (see Holidays in Switzerland ) and the Catholic German federal states Baden-Württemberg , Bavaria , North Rhine-Westphalia , Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland as well as in Austria , Belgium , Liechtenstein , Andorra , France , Italy , Croatia , Luxembourg , Lithuania , Monaco , Poland , Portugal , San Marino , Slovakia , Slovenia , Spain , Hungary , Vatican City and the Southeast Asian Philippines , All Saints Day is a public holiday and is celebrated on November 1st. In Sweden and Finland , the public holiday falls on the Saturday between October 31 and November 6. Both dates are usually in calendar week 44, only in leap years that begin with a Thursday ( Sunday letter DC, 13 times in 400 years), both are in week 45 according to DIN ISO 8601 . In the Netherlands , All Saints' Day was abolished as a public holiday in 1960.

In the German federal states mentioned, All Saints' Day is a so-called silent holiday . This means that no public dance events are allowed on this day and loud music is prohibited.

regional customs

Newwelings from Mainz

As Allerheiligengebäck known in the southern German-speaking countries the allerheiligenstriezel which the baptismal or godfather give to their godchildren. The custom exists from Burgenland via the Upper Austrian Inn and Hausruck districts to the southeast Bavarian Chiem and Rupertigau . The Striezel is made from yeast dough (yeast dough) in the form of plaited plaits sprinkled with sugar or sprinkles . In the northern Upper Palatinate this All Saints' Day pastry is called "Strietzl". In the region around the Altmühltal there is "Spitzl" (Spitzel), a diamond-shaped gingerbread biscuit, on All Saints' Day at Spitzl markets. All Saints 'Day markets also take place on All Saints' Day.

In the English-speaking world, All Saints' Day is often celebrated with the processional song For All the Saints .

Memorial of the dead

The day after All Saints' Day, November 2, committed by Roman Catholic Church to All Souls , where the poor souls in purgatory is thought. In many places, the associated grave blessing is already carried out in the afternoon of All Saints' Day, the public holiday without work. Associated with this is the custom of decorating the graves with lights. The traditional Mainz candle, the Newweling , is lit in the Mainz cemeteries .

All Saints' Day and Halloween

On the eve, October 31, the United States and many European countries celebrate Halloween folk customs . The word Halloween is derived from the English name All Hallows Eve , the liturgical eve of All Saints Day. In its present form, having returned from North America, it has taken a highly commercialized and secularized form.

See also


Web links

Commons : All Saints' Day  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: All Saints' Day  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Preface of the Feast of All Saints' Day.
  2. Lights for the Dead ,, accessed on November 6, 2016.
  3. Codex of Canon Law . Vatican website. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  4. Otto Bitschnau: The life of God's saints. Einsiedeln, New-York, Cincinnati and St. Louis (Karl & Nikolaus Benziger), 2nd ed. 1883, p. 815.
  5. ^ Manfred Becker-Huberti: Celebrations - Festivals - Seasons. Living customs all year round. Special edition, Herder Verlag, Freiburg (Breisgau) 2001, ISBN 3-451-27702-6 , p. 370.
  6. Balthasar Fischer: All Saints' Day . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 1 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1993, Sp. 405 .
  7. ^ Karl-Heinrich Bieritz: The church year. Celebrations, memorials and holidays in the past and present. CH Beck, Munich 2005, p. 177 f.
  8. ^ [Franz] Eckstein: Braised pastries . In: Concise Dictionary of German Superstition Vol. 9 (1938/41), Sp. 948 Internet Archive .
  9. ^ Thomas Tippach: Würzburg - Aspects of Centrality. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2 (I: From the beginnings to the outbreak of the Peasant War. 2001, ISBN 3-8062-1465-4 ; II: From the Peasants' War 1525 to the transition to the Kingdom of Bavaria 1814. 2004, ISBN 3 -8062-1477-8 ; III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 ), Theiss, Stuttgart 2001–2007, Volume III (2007), P. 369–393 and 1296–1298, here: p. 397, fig. 127 ( stalls on the occasion of the All Saints' Market next to the Würzburg Cathedral ).