How Is All Saints' Day Observed Across the Globe?
Posted by Quiring Admin on November 01, 2021
All Saints’ Day is a time to celebrate and reflect on the workings of all the saints, particularly those who do not have their own specific day of recognition. The day goes by various names, including All Hallows’ Day, All Hallows Tide, and All-Hallomas. For many western Christian countries, the day occurs on November 1st each year. However, it shifts around slightly in other parts of the world as it happens on the first Sunday after Pentecost, which observers mark on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) from Easter Sunday.
Below you will find how some countries go about celebrating this holiday each year.
Traditions and rituals surrounding “el Dia de Los Santos” in Spain vary from region to region. Cathedrals that house relics will likely put them on display. Some cities will have a procession of souls, while others will light candles or ring bells. Some people will take this time to pray to St. Anthony, the saint of lost things. The holiday’s traditional dessert consists of sweet potatoes, and ground nuts rolled into balls and covered in pine nuts before frying.
Poles get the day off from work on November 1st, and many people choose to spend their time visiting the graves of loved ones they’ve lost. It’s common for the Polish to leave flowers and standing candles at gravesites and take the time to talk to the dead and pray. The cemeteries also offer special treats for sale on All Saints’ Day, including crushed walnuts with caramelized sugar, bagels on strings, and what’s known as the Lord’s skin, a long sweet made from arabic gum, sugar, egg, and orange flavoring.
Similar to other countries, Mexico takes two days to celebrate this holiday, with November 1st being “El Dia de Los Inocentes” and November 2nd being All Souls’ Day. Like many European countries, Mexicans will spend time visiting and cleaning the graves of lost loved ones and decorating the spaces with flowers and other decorations. It is a time to remember and communicate with the souls of family, friends, and saints who have left Earth but have not been forgotten.
Because of its primarily Buddhist influence, All Saints’ Day is a bit different in Japan but also strikingly similar to the western tradition. Japan celebrates its O-Bon festival in mid-August by taking the time to visit and remember their loved ones. They separate their ghosts into three categories: ancestors, those who died tragically, and gaki, or hungry ghosts for whom they leave offerings such as rice and water.
One thoughtful way to celebrate the ones you’ve lost over the years is with granite religious headstones. At Quiring Monuments, we provide headstones of all varieties, from Catholic headstone symbols such as a Bible with a rosary to photographs that keep a person’s memory alive. We also work closely with many religious faiths in the area, such as Holyrood Catholic Cemetery. Get in touch with us anytime to discuss options and see some of our customized work.