November 1: All Saints’ Day (Hallowmas)

On All saints’ Day hard is the grain,
The leaves are dropping, the puddle is full

History & Lore / Artwork / Activities / Recipes / Resources


Engraving, the Holy Trinity with Saints. Artist unknown.

All Saints’ Day, the Solemnity of All Saints, remembers the known and unknown saints of the Church: the Church Triumphant, the departed who have reached spiritual fulfillment & maturity. It stems from the commemoration of All Martyrs, which was celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost at least by the 7th century. In 609, Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon as the Church of Sancta Maria ad Martyres on May 13, and the feast was moved to that date; in the 8th century, Pope Gregory III dedicated the oratory in St. Peter’s Basilica to “All Saints” on November 1, and the martyr commemoration was accordingly moved to that date; a century later, Pope Gregory IV made the date universal.

Tradition & plantlore highlights:

  • Candlelit celebrations
  • Table of the Dead
  • Tindles
  • Pan co’ Santi (“All Saints’ Bread”)
  • Castagnaccio
  • Agaric mushrooms last seen
  • Apple bobbing
  • Nutcracking

If you’d like to learn more about the history, agrarian traditions, folklore, & plantlore of Allhallowtide, enjoy these free info sheets designed to help you build your Liturgical Year Binder:





References cited:

Blackburn, Bonnie and Leofranc Holford-Strevens. Oxford Companion to the Year. Oxford University Press, 1999.

Ferguson, George. Signs & Symbols in Christian Art. Oxford University Press, 1954.

Gould, Meredith. The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day. Doubleday, 2004.

Hone, William. The Every-Day Book & Table Book. Reproduced by Sagwan Press, originally published 1835.

Hutton, Ronald. The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford University Press, 1996.

Roud, Steve. The English Year. Penguin, 2008.

Aleteia: How Italians celebrate All Saints & All Souls.

Catholic Culture: History of All Hallows’ Eve.

Italian Tourism: All Saints’ Day in Italy.

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