All Saintsí Day, also known as All Hallows, Day of All the Saints, Solemnity of All Saints, or Feast of All Saints is a festival celebrated on 1 November by the Latin Church of the Roman Catholic Church and some other Western Christian traditions, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. The liturgical celebration begins at Vespers on the evening of 31 October and ends at the close of 1 November. It is thus the day before All Soulsí Day.
Hallowmas is another term for the feast and was used by Shakespeare in this sense. However, a few recent writers have applied this term to the three days from 31 October to 2 November inclusive, as a synonym for the triduum of Hallowtide.
In Catholic theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries. In the Catholic Church and many Anglican churches, the next day specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached Heaven. Christians who celebrate All Saintsí Day and All Soulsí Day do so in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual bond between those in heaven, and the living. Other Christian traditions define, remember and respond to the saints in different ways; for example, in the Bible and the Methodist Church, the word "saints" refers to all Christians and therefore, on All Saintsí Day, the Church Universal, as well as the deceased members of a local congregation, are honored and remembered.
Antebellum Louisianians mourned the dead by staging elaborate funerals and processions, decorating graves at the time of death and on All Saintsí Day and All Soulsí Day, placing black wreaths on doors and black ribbons on door pulls, and wearing clothes and jewelry that symbolized stages of mourning. Many customs incorporated Latin and African elements, a cultural heritage from Louisianaís colonial era.
According to Latin Catholic tradition, the living also remembered the dead on All Saintsí Day (1 November) and All Soulsí Day (2 November). They cleaned burial sites, adorned them with flowers and ornaments, and held feasts. Louisianians continue to observe All Saintsí and All Soulsí Day in much the same way today.
Source: wikipedia.org | louisiana.gov | catholic.org