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What is All Saints Day and What Does It Have To Do With Me?

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Every November 1 it’s the same routine.

Sleepy-eyed kids drag their sugared-selves to school while parents sift through their candy to sneak a piece before being caught. Or something like that.

But for many, the day has larger meaning.

All Saints’ Day – sometimes called Hallowmas or the Feast of All Saints – is a Christian day every November 1 named in honor of all saints, both known and unknown.

Immediately followed by All Souls Day on November 2, the day was established by Pope Gregory III (731-741) as he dedicated an oratory for the relics of select saints. The day, however, is not just for Catholics – not even close. It’s celebrated by the Anglican Communion, Methodist Church, Church of the Nazarene, Lutheran Church, Reformed Church and several other Protestant Churches.

But because the day commemorates all saints, hence the name – and even unknown ones – it’s really celebrating everyone in heaven.

No, it’s not a day set aside strictly for famous ones, like St. Peter or St. Teresa. It honors every single individual in heaven, even those loved ones who you firmly believe lived as saints on earth, despite never being formally recognized as such.

Still, there’s no mistaking that many of today’s observances tend to focus on the known saints. The day is so important that Catholics, for instance, are obligated to attend Mass.

A saint, by definition, is a person recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or kindness. Since we all have those people in our lives whom we admire and want to imitate, it’s no wonder many keep statues or prayer cards as a reminder of these great human beings.

Just like a sports hall of fame enshrines exceptional figures in athletics, so too, does All Saints Day honor the greats we’d like to emulate.

Take a moment to honor those role models who have died and reside in heaven – it’s cause for a celebration. At the very minimum, you might even partake in Halloween candy – a fitting reminder of their sweetness on earth toward others.

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