Back when holidays were still holy days we honored all the saints on the evening before their feast day.

Thursday, 10/31/13

Five hundred years ago all of Europe was Christian, and what we now call “holidays” were Christendom’s “holy days.” And, in our modern practices there are some remnants of those times.

For instance, back then on January First, Christians celebrated God’s creation of our world; and, as part of the celebration they recalled the opening sentence of our Bible, which stated, “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth the earth was a formless wasteland.” So, in recalling that “formless wasteland” on the night before the Feast of New Years, Christians used to have wild parties that acted out the chaos before God’s creation. Now, although people no longer honor God’s creation, they still have the wild parties.

In a somewhat similar way, five hundred years ago all Christendom kept November First as a holy day honoring all the saints. In old English, what we call “All Saints Day” they called “All Hallows Day.” On that day, they honored all canonized saints; and along with them, they honored all the fine men and women who have won heaven without fanfare.

On the  Eve of All Hallows Day they used to imagine the saints in heaven getting dressed up fancy for their feast day; and here on earth, Christians celebrated All Hallow’s Eve by dressing up like favorite saints. We might not now honor all the saints on the eve of their feast day, but at lest we do dress fancy.

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