There are those who think that Halloween is one long holiday that includes All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day, while many others believe that both November 1 and November 2 are feast days for the souls of our dearly departed. While this is based on some truth, each feast day is actually quite different from the other. Here’s how:
Every time October 31 rolls around, witches, zombies, and even superheroes and cartoon characters come out of the woodwork! And while we always associate Halloween with costumes and buckets of candy, Halloween actually means “All Hallows Eve” or “Holy Evening.” According to some sources, a thousand years ago in Ireland and Britain, Christians came together to pray for blessings and protection from evil. They would don costumes—as saints or evil spirits—and stage a battle between good and evil. We’d like to think that those dressed as saints won every time!
All Saints’ Day
All Saints’ Day—or Undas—celebrated on November 1, commemorates all Christian saints, most especially those who have no feast days of their own. On this day, we are called to live like saints and honor all the saints (which actually refers to anyone who is in heaven).
All Souls’ Day
All Souls’ Day, which is celebrated on November 2, is a day of prayer for those who have passed away and are believed to be in purgatory. As we pray for their souls, we ask that they may be called into heaven to be with God. Because of this, November 2—and not November 1—is officially the day we’re supposed to honor and visit our dearly departed in their final resting places.