All Saints’ Day is a solemn holy day of the Catholic Church celebrated annually on November 1. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. It should not be confused with All Souls’ Day, which is observed on November 2 and is dedicated to those who have died and not yet reached heaven.
Although millions, or perhaps even billions, of people, may already be saints, All Saints’ Day observances tend to focus on known saints –that is those recognized in the canon of the saints by the Catholic Church.
Generally, All Saints ’ Day is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation, meaning all Catholics are required to attend Mass on that day, unless they have an excellent excuse, such as serious illness.
Celebrations and customs vary around the world. In the United States, children go out trick-or-treating for candy the night before, while Catholics attend the Mass the following day. In Spain, Mexico and Portugal, offerings are often left for the dead. Across Western Europe, people visit graves and leave offerings of flowers, and in Eastern Europe, they light candles on the graves at night. In the Philippines, families paint and repair graves of their loved ones.
These celebrations often blur the distinction between All Saints’ Day, which is dedicated to those who are in heaven, and All Souls’ Day, which is dedicated for all those who have died.
In Mexico, the Day of the Dead holy days extend from October 31 through November 2. This holiday has spread in popularity into the United States and across latin America. It’s generally celebrated from October 31 through November 2, and it coincides with the American Holloween holiday and the Catholic holy days
However, it’s important to remember these basic facts:
Halloween is a secular holiday that comes the night before All Saints’ Day.
All Saints’ Day is on November 1, and it is a Holy Day of Obligation.
All Souls’ Day in on November 2, and it is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation.