Remembering All Saint’s Day

Five Perpetual Virgin martyrs canonized into sainthood for extraordinary lives of purity and religious devotion: St. Agnes, St. Catherine, St. Lucy, St. Barbara, and St. Joan (Joan of Arc).

Today is November 1 — otherwise known as All Saint’s Day. All Saint’s Day is a universal Christian feast day that honors and remembers all the people who died for their Christian faith. You might say that All Saint’s Day is the Memorial Day of Christianity. The holiday was established by the early church to add a Christian context to the pagan celebrations honoring the dead which have become our Halloween. I went to a Catholic elementary school as a child, and every morning on All Saint’s Day the whole school would to mass. After the horrors of Halloween night, I remember how comforting it felt to go to church the next day to celebrate what was holy and good. But most Christians today don’t even know what All Saint’s Day is, let alone celebrate it. It doesn’t even appear on the calendar anymore.

I bring this up because I find it amusing how every October fanatical Christians condemn Halloween as the “devil’s holiday” and say that it shouldn’t be celebrated. I believe in God but I am not a Christian, and haven’t been for a long time. But I went to church last week when my aunt invited me for her birthday celebration. The minister said that they would be having “hallelujah night” on October 31 as an alternative to Halloween festivities. I thought “hallelujah night” sounded pretty lame next to Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. I remembered how I looked forward to going to All Saint’s Day mass the morning after Halloween as a kid. I concluded that if Christians want to get their message out to kids they shouldn’t try to compete with Halloween, because, let’s face it, they’ll lose. Instead, they should offer services on All Saint’s Day to let kids know that no matter how dark and scary things may seem, God will always bring light the next day.

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