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All Saints

A Triduum: Halloween – All Saints – All Souls

All Saints

In USA, people will spend more than $US 9 Billion for Halloween. With the Americanisation of New Zealand, I’ve noticed many people in different places dressed up for Halloween – and that started about a dozen days before Halloween. Just as for Christmas, in NZ many would see the dozen days leading up to Christmas as “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (a sort of secular intense Advent), so it seems there is a copy-and-paste “preparation” for Halloween developing, a sort of “Twelve Days of Halloween” culminating in Halloween itself.

It is time to put the ‘Hallow’ back into ‘Halloween’.

Halloween, All Saints, and All Souls forms a triduum (three days of liturgical observance). ‘Halloween’ is a contraction of ‘All Hallows’ Eve’ (the ‘eve’, the day before All Hallows – All Saints). This triduum can be a celebration of past, present, and future Eternal Life in Christ. [Día de los Muertos, literally, the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican celebration on All Hallows’ Eve spreading from Mexico through USA and beyond – including within church celebrations.]

Some communities will celebrate All Saints’ on Sunday. Others will celebrate it on Friday, November 1st.

ALMIGHTIE God, whiche haste knitte together thy electe in one Communion and felowship, in the misticall body of thy sonne Christe our Lord; graunt us grace so to folow thy holy Saynctes in all virtues, and godly livyng, that we maye come to those inspeakeable joyes, whiche thou hast prepared for all them that unfaynedly love thee; through Jesus Christe. (Thomas Cranmer, 1549)

I suggest we can begin recovering some of our All Hallows’ Eve tradition by having an All Saint’s Vigil (Halloween).

I am not in favour of the recent Church of England practice of counting from All Saints’ Day backwards to Advent: The Fourth Sunday before Advent, The Third Sunday before Advent,… Nor am I in favour of the NZ Anglican mimicking of Mummy England and making liturgical Red an optional alternative to Green at this time [“Oh – we’ve had Green long enough now – what colour haven’t we used much this year?…”] There are other ways of changing the texture of services that acknowledges a change in the weather (to Spring or Autumn).

Further resources and reflections:

All Saints Reflection
All Souls Resources
Halloween & All Saints
All Saints – Beatitudes
A Great Cloud of Witnesses
Kontakion of the Departed – All Souls

Off this site:
Girardian Lectionary Reflection
Preaching Resources Down Under

Please add your ideas and resources in the comments below.

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1 thought on “A Triduum: Halloween – All Saints – All Souls”

  1. Sometimes, Bosco, because of the exigencies of parish life, liturgical Feasts are indeed ‘movable’. In our Daily Mass tradition of Saint Michael and All Angels, Christchurch; Friday, November 1 (ALL Saints Day) will be observed as a ‘feria. Saturday, November 2, will be observed as the Feast of All Souls, with Low Mass at 9am and a Solemn Requiem Mass at 7pm.
    This will mean that the major Feast of All Saints will be celebrated on Sunday, November 3.

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