What is the origin of All Saints' Day

Every year All Saints' Day is celebrated on November 1st, a special day for many people that in fact is not only celebrated in our country. In other countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia or Guatemala it is also celebrated, although in these the festive denomination is different.

Be that as it may, there is no doubt that this festival is obviously religious, although it was once more, especially when the role of the Catholic Church was more deeply rooted in society than it is today.

But to inquire about its origin we must go back to Pope Boniface IV, who was responsible for consecrating the so-called "Pantheon of Agrippa" to the cult of the "Virgin and the Martyrs". Although at that time this festival was celebrated on May 13, which commemorated the saints anonymous and unknown to Christianity, it is Pope Gregory III (731-741) who changed the date to November 1.

It was this Pope who, in fact, consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of San Pedro in honor of all the Saints, setting his anniversary for this day.

And why did this date change occur? Apparently it is due to the conversion to Christianity of the different peoples belonging to the pagan tradition, which in fact refused to abandon their feasts and roots.

But the reason for the change has a broader meaning or meaning. And is that the main Catholic leaders at that time thought that by establishing new festivities on the same date and doctrinal appearance similar to the pagan, it would be easier for these believers were abandoning their old beliefs.

Not in vain, on the eve of November 1 there was a Celtic pagan festival that marked the end of summer and harvests, and the arrival of the days of cold and greater darkness. According to this belief, the arrival of the change of season occurred as a consequence of the god of death, guilty of making the dead return.

With the Roman invasion the Celtic culture mixed with it, and with it there was some adoption of the 'Festivity of the dead', although in this case the Romans decided to mix it with their Fiestas de Pomona, which were dedicated to the goddess of fertility.

We are, therefore, before what could be called the beginning of Halloween, although in Christianity this kind of festive vigil was called with the name of 'All Hallow's Even' (or what is the same, Vigil of All Saints).

In the middle of the 9th century, it was Pope Gregory IV (827-844) who extended this celebration to the entire Catholic Church. Thus, in this way, all the saints began to have a day in the calendar to be remembered and venerated, both strangers and those who already have their own party in the liturgical calendar: November 1. And it is, from this moment, when this holiday is lived the same in all countries with a Catholic majority.

However, there are differences with the Orthodox Church, the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church. For these churches, this festival is commemorated on the first Sunday after Pentecost, the festivity celebrated 50 days after Easter, in which Christians tend to commemorate the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the apostles.

If you want to enjoy this day in a different way and as it was done in the past, we suggest you discover 3 recipes of typical sweets of All Saints' Day.

The History of All Saints and All Souls Days (March 2024)