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Halloween – All Saints – All Souls

All Saints

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 a Sunday. Others will celebrate it on Wednesday, 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 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).

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

Please add your ideas and resources in the comments below.

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4 thoughts on “Halloween – All Saints – All Souls”

  1. I am going to church sunday with a picture of my recently deceased father for dia de los muertos. I never got to attend his funeral in England.

    Not doing the US commercial halloween candy give away but I did take 5 lb of candy to a volunteer performance I gave for a senior community which flooded out and are displaced for another few months, and I may give a few candy bars to the neighbor kids.

    So many neighborhoods are destroyed here, it certainly looks like a Halloween setting, but I think it’s more serious contemplation for many of us this year about the actual ‘Hallow’or holy matters in life. And people died just being at home, thinking they were safe, whether through fire or flood or storm, ‘consecrated’ is their hallowed ground.

    ‘Home’ itself is a sacred concept. Sanctuary. The place we are born ( well in my generation it was ) and grow and live out our faith on a daily basis. And our final resting place- heavenly home.

    Siempre en mi corazón, amado.

  2. The collect in the BCP is only a “free” translation of the pre-Reformation collect.

    I have witnessed a Christian way of “counter-ugliness”: for Hallowe’en, the children were costumed as saints, wearing the distinctive objects of the saint represented, and offering pious images.

    The Hallowe’en Mass has the Beatitudes according to Luke, in contrast with the Beatitudes of Matthew of All Saints’ Day. I have always found ackward (but never suppressed because of my lack of understanding) the reading of the Beatitudes at All Saint’s eve & day, as if the saints were holy through their merits. There should also be something to palliate a Pelagian understanding of this feast.

    Maybe the traditional vigil Mass of Hallowe’en should just be supplemented by an Epistle reading about salvation by grace, which would also echo the Reformation.

  3. We had a short and loving service celebrating our dead, and I prayed The Serenity Prayer which my father always wore when I was small:

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

    It’s taken me over half a century to learn the lesson, unfortunately! But a great peace came over me today, I no longer have any negative feelings to any one and I hope no one does towards me.

    One of the last conversations with my father before his dementia got too bad to understand him fully, he said ‘let go of the past, never become bitter’.

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