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All Saints Day

All Saints Day 2017 and 2018

All Saints Day on 1 November is a holiday to honour all Christian saints who have no special “saint day” of their own on the church calendar. In 2017, the holiday falls on a Wednesday.

YearDateDayHoliday
20171 NovWedAll Saints' Day
20181 NovThuAll Saints' Day
2 NovFriAll Saints' Day Holiday
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All Saints Day has been observed by Christians since the 3rd or 4th Century A.D., but it was not made an official holy day until A.D. 835, when Pope Gregory IV declared it to be one. The date of 1 November seems to have been chosen as a means of replacing the existing pagan holiday related to the fate of the dead. It has been observed in Hungary since the land was Christianised in the early 11th Century.

All Saints and All Souls Day are the top flower sales days in Hungary, and vendors will sell them to you right at the cemetery gate. Special church services will be held to remember the saints, and ministers will often hold prayer services in the graveyards. Roman Catholics hold that by prayer and penance they can quicken the release of souls trapped in purgatory so they can enter into Heavenly bliss.

There are many superstitious traditions related to All Saints Day in Hungary. Some believe that candles can both give warmth to the souls of the dead and light their way so they can find their graves again after being out of them. Some also leave a light on at home while at the graveyard, thinking their deceased loved ones may be visiting the house at that time. When the church bells ring, that is the time when the souls make their way to people’s homes. A special place at the dinner table may even be prepared for them.

All Saints Day is also a time when food and other gifts are given to the poor and homeless, many of whom wait at the cemeteries to receive a donation.