All Saints – the day after the night before

1st November 2011
After all the nonsense of Halloween, perhaps a day to remember when we can celebrate courage and self-sacrifice in whatever guise it appears. All Saints' Day. No matter what our faith, no matter even whether that faith is absent, forgotten or simply in abeyance for a while, let's just light a candle, be still for a moment and reflect.
candle-lit scene in cemetery, young woman sanding, an All-Saints day scene
All Saints Eve, Oswiecim, Poland.

History of remembrance

The official purpose of All Saints’ Day was to remember and mark with a feast all those saints and martyrs of the Church - including those unknown - throughout history. There simply weren't enough days in the year otherwise to mark every one individually. Thus a day for ‘all saints’ came into being.

In many countries it is a public holiday. This is followed by All Souls’ Day. A time when the faithful honour those, family, friends and loved ones, who have departed and pray for them, also.

An opportunity to reflect

With the addition of All Hallows’ Eve (modern day Halloween) at the end of October, it therefore contributes to a three day extended meditation coinciding with the onset of Autumn and the chilly prospect of Winter (in the northern hemisphere). Even if one is not a practicing Christian, I think it is an opportunity to reflect. It's an opportunity to cease thinking about ourselves for five minutes and consider instead the broader picture, the cycles of life and death to which we all belong.
Authored by Robert Stephen Parry

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