What is behind the holiday on November 1st, who is off and which federal states celebrate it?

In many Catholic countries, All Saints’ Day is celebrated on November 1st in honor of the deceased. In Germany there are only a few federal states in which an official silent holiday ensures a day off. There is a ban on dancing on All Saints’ Day, just like on Good Friday.

When is All Saints Day 2022?

The “Memorial Day of All Saints” is celebrated on the same day every year, November 1st. In 2022, All Saints Day falls on a Tuesday. In the next few years, the commemoration day falls as follows:

  • 2023: Wednesday 1 November 2023
  • 2024: Friday 1 November 2024
  • 2025: Saturday November 1, 2025

All Saints Day 2022: Which federal states are free?

In some federal states, All Saints’ Day is not only a commemorative day, but also a public holiday. Here you are free on Tuesday, November 1, 2022:

  • Baden-Wuerttemberg
  • Bavaria
  • North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Rhineland-Palatinate
  • Saarland

What is the meaning of All Saints Day?

All Saints’ Day is a holiday with a pragmatic ulterior motive. As the name suggests, it is a holiday honoring and commemorating all the saints of the Catholic Church. Since there are too few days in a year to devote a separate day of honor to each holy person, November 1st has been declared a holiday in commemoration of all holy men and women.

All Saints’ Day is commemorated not only for the deceased who were canonized by the Pope, but for all deceased people who lived according to the Christian faith.

Where is All Saints Day a public holiday outside of Germany?

All Saints’ Day is not only an important day of remembrance in some German federal states. November 1st is a public holiday in many European countries, such as Spain, Italy, France and Belgium. A full list of European countries can be found here:

  • Spain
  • France
  • Italy
  • Belgium
  • Portugal
  • Lichtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Austria
  • Croatia
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Hungary
  • Catholic cantons of Switzerland
  • Sweden (varying date)
  • Finland (varying date)
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In some places other arrangements have been made regarding the date. In Finland and Sweden, All Saints’ Day is not always celebrated on November 1st, but on the Saturday between October 31st and November 6th. In the Netherlands, however, All Saints’ Day has not been a public holiday since 1960.

Is All Saints’ Day also celebrated outside of Europe?

The Philippines in Southeast Asia have long been under Christian influence and remain predominantly Catholic to this day, which is why some European customs found their way to the distant country. Here, a different version of All Saints’ Day has become a tradition. It is customary for the deceased to be commemorated by families camping out in the cemeteries. But it is a happy occasion and there is a celebratory mood on all sides to bring joy to the deceased loved ones.

What is the connection between All Saints’ Day and Halloween?

Halloween as it’s celebrated today has evolved into a very commercialized festival. This custom originally came from Ireland, where devout Christians lit candles on the evening before All Saints’ Day to commemorate their dead. The term Halloween is derived from the English expression All Hallows’ Eve. Literally translated: the evening before All Saints’ Day.

After this tradition came to America, customs changed to include dressing up and collecting candy, which is common today. Later, this trend returned to European countries in its current form.

What is the difference between All Saints Day and All Souls Day?

While All Saints’ Day is dedicated to the saints and blessed, All Souls’ Day on November 2nd is dedicated to commemorating all the deceased. In the Catholic Church, mercy is sought for the sins of souls in purgatory through prayer and intercession.

All Souls’ Day follows immediately after All Saints’ Day, but is not an official holiday. Nonetheless, it is a day when families commemorate their deceased relatives and visit and decorate the graves in their honor.

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What does Reformation Day have to do with All Saints’ Day?

According to legend, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on the evening before All Saints’ Day in 1517. In doing so, he denounced the view propagated by the Church that amounts of money are necessary to receive absolution from sins. This is how Luther initiated the ecclesiastical Reformation. Whether the theses were actually posted in this form has not been clarified. What is undisputed, however, is that Luther addressed his theses in a letter to bishops and important dignitaries and thus provided the impetus for the Reformation of the Church.

October 31 has long been a public holiday in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. In 2017, exactly 500 years after the posting of the theses, the Reformation Day was celebrated nationwide. The federal states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein took this as an opportunity to officially declare this day a public holiday from 2018.

Why is there a ban on dancing on All Saints’ Day?

In the five federal states in which All Saints’ Day is a public holiday, there is a ban on dancing on November 1st. In Baden-Württemberg, violations can even be punished as an administrative offense with a high fine.

The ban on dancing prohibits the holding of public dance and sporting events and the playing of loud music. The ban results from traditional reasons of morality. Exuberant dancing on days of remembrance and honor, such as Good Friday or All Saints’ Day, is considered inappropriate in European Christianity.

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