A Look Back: Celebrating All Saints' Day and Honoring the Saints

November is a time to step back, before the holidays are upon us, to appreciate all the wonderful things we have. We, at La Gazzetta Italiana, are very grateful to all of you that subscribe, advertise or carry the newspaper in your business. Without you, we would not be here today.

We hope you enjoy this issue and especially this article from our past intern Danielle Selvaggio from November 2017.

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All Saints' Day (Tutti i Santi) is a public holiday observed in many countries globally, including Italy. Both eastern and western churches honor this holiday, although on different days. It is also sometimes referred to as All Hallows' Day. It is celebrated on November 1 in Italy and other Western countries and All Souls' Day follows on the next day. Government offices, schools and many businesses close their doors in observance of this day.

This holiday honors the Catholic saints that are either known or less-than-popular. Many saints may already have feasts of their own, but this celebration honors them all, even those without their own day of festivities. This day is also used to honor deceased loved ones. Catholic Churches, Protestant Churches and Eastern Orthodox Churches participate in this day. Although it is not widely celebrated in countries such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, Christians in the area may still acknowledge the holiday and participate.

It is not quite clear when All Saints' Day was first celebrated, but it is known that the first observance occurred many centuries ago because it has been referenced in numerous cultures throughout history. It was made an official holiday in 837CE by Pope St. Gregory, who ordered its observance. It made its way across the globe and was observed in many other countries, including those both in the east and west. All Saints' Day was known as All Hallows Day a long time ago and the title "All Hallows Eve" on the day before became Halloween as time moved on.

This day is used to honor the bond between the living and the spirits and there is more than one way to celebrate this holiday. Some may decorate and repair the graves of their loved ones, some may light candles and pray and others may attend religious ceremonies. Friends and family can also exchange goods with each other. No matter what action may be taken, there is no one way to commemorate this holiday.

Different countries celebrate All Saints' Day in different ways. How the holiday is celebrated in countries such as Portugal and Mexico may be different from how Austria and Romania may celebrate the holiday. Each country has its own way to rejoice in the festivities.

Some common symbols for All Saints' Day include a sheaf of wheat, the crown and the hand of God. Statues and pictures of various saints are also popular symbols that relate to this day. People can honor All Saints' Day by displaying these statues and pictures or by laying flowers at their deceased loved ones’ graves.

This year, All Saints' Day with be occurring on Wednesday, November 1 for western countries. Whether it's honoring the dead or celebrating the saints, this holiday will truly provide a close spiritual experience for those willing to partake.