All Saints’ Day / All Hallows Eve / Hallowmas
All Saints’ Day and All Hallows Eve (Halloween) were first introduced in the seventh century CE. This date was changed to November 1 to supplant Pagan beliefs because those pesky Pagans just refused to cough up their original Samhain. The day was to honor God and all his saints, known and unknown All Saints’ Day later became Hallowmas, a mass to honor the dead. The Eve of All Hollow’s Eve, October 31, became All Hollow’s Eve, which evolved in to the word Hallowe’en. Although the church wished this time to be one of somber prayer and quiet custom, the Celts continued their customary bonfires and fortune telling.
All Saints’ Day is a bit different. The festival falls on November 2, a day to offer prayer and alms to assist the souls of those departed that managed to get stuck in purgatory, an in-between place that is neither heaven or hell. Over the succeeding centuries, Halloween like Christmas, picked up various customs and discarded others, depending on the complex socialization of the times and religious dictates.
Copyright Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 1999 Pages 24 to 29