Halloween x All Saints’ Day x All Souls’ Day

Halloween x All Saints' Day x All Souls' Day

As we learned in the article on the History of Halloween, this name originated from the term ALL – HALLOWS – EVE, which is nothing more than the eve of All Saints Day. The following day is All Souls’ Day and the Día de los Muertos, in Mexico, takes place at the same time.

What is the connection between these four dates? Is there any? We researched the origin of these days and brought you also to stay inside.


If you’ve watched Coco (or Viva, in Brazil) you must have some idea what this day is all about. If you haven’t seen it.



The Day of the Dead (el Día de los Muertos), is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion. For this reunion, the family prepares an altar, at home or where the relative is buried, with photos, incense, candles, sugar skulls, favorite foods and drinks of all their departed loved ones and lots of music to celebrate. Each item placed on the altar has a meaning and a purpose and each altar will look different from the other.



According to belief, the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31st and the spirits of children can be reunited with their families for 24 hours. The same happens for the spirits of adults, but on November 2nd. During these days, nowadays, people often wear skull masks and eat sugar in the shape of a skull.

The festivals on this day are a mixture of all cultures that have influenced Mexican culture, native peoples, European religion and Spanish culture. The festivities take place from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November. Being on the 31st, Halloween, the 1st, “el Día de los Inocentes”, or Children’s Day, in addition to “All Saints’ Day”, closing the holiday, the 2nd “Día de los muertos” or day of the dead .

Starting in 2008, when UNESCO added Mexico’s “indigenous festival dedicated to the dead” to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the day of the dead has consolidated itself as a traditional festival throughout Mexico. A trend that began to spread to cities in the 1980s, as it was previously limited to rural areas of the country.

It has also been noticed a popularization here in the US, as we have a large population of Mexicans and Mexican descendants.

Rituals have been taking place in Mexican civilization for at least 3,000 years.



The origin of the Catholic date of All Saints’ Day is confused with the origin of Halloween. With the invasion of Celtic lands by the Roman Empire, the Church had access to pagan rituals and several popes tried to replace them with Catholic holidays.

The commemoration is dated to 609 or 610, the date when Pope Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon to Mary and all martyrs. The date initially honored the martyrs, the saints who died as heroes in the name of the Church, later it was called All Saints’ Day, celebrating more broadly.

In AD 1000, the church made November 2nd All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead and replace the Celtic date. All Saints’ Day has been set for November 1st.

Contrary to the church, the celebration of Samhain (the festival that would have originated everything) continued to happen on the eve, on October 31, and was called ALL-HALLOWS-EVE, all = all, hallows = saints, eve = eve, the eve of All Saints’ Day, which would eventually turn into the word HALLOWEEN.


The Day of the Dead, also known as the Day of the Faithful, or Day of the Dead, happens is an almost inherent tradition of the human being, it is the day to honor the dead and pray for their souls.

Praying for the dead has been part of Christian customs since the 2nd century, when it was common to visit the tombs of martyrs. In the 5th century, the Church dedicated one day of the year to pray for all the forgotten dead. The abbot Odilo de Cluny, at the end of the 10th century, asked monks to pray for the dead. In the year 732, Pope Gregory III authorized priests to hold Masses in memory of the dead. But it is only in the 13th century that the date is made official on November 2nd.

If you pass by an old church, there is likely to be a cemetery on the nearest lot, so the community was in constant contact with tombstones and representations of their departed loved ones.


This reinforced the concept of the Church as a pilgrim community (the living), suffering (to the souls in purification in Purgatory) and triumphant (to the holy souls in Paradise). If All Saints’ Day celebrated the triumphant ones, the Day of the Faithful Departed honored the souls in Purgatory and for them prayers and sacrifices were offered.

From the 15th century onwards, the holiday spread across the world. Each part of the world celebrates this date in its own way. In Mexico, for example, it is associated with the “Día de los muertos” that unites the Catholic celebration with ancient Aztec rituals. In Brazil, the tradition is to go to cemeteries, take flowers, light candles and pray for loved ones who have died.


All these dates have a similar origin, they have coincident moments in their histories and started from customs that ancient peoples already had.

The festivities that took place in autumn had in their symbolism the renewal and rebirth of nature. They started from the understanding that death exists so that there is always life.

These parties, in addition to sharing the days, honor the dead and the evolution of the spirit.

It can be scary like Halloween, lively like Día de los Muertos or sad like Day of the Dead, the important thing is that the recurring theme in the dates (death) teaches us to honor those who are gone and to value the cyclical process. of life-death-life.



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