All Saints Day

The Church of St. Peter

Why do we celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day? I thought both days were for remembering those who have died. What’s the difference?

You are right that All Saints Day and All Souls Day both commemorate the departed, but there is a difference. All Saints Day is a principle feast for Christians. It celebrates all Christian saints through the ages, both known and unknown. Saints are Christians who, in various ways and often against great odds, showed a remarkable love for Christ. The Church believes that they now dwell with God in the fullness of glory and continue to serve God and pray with us who are still in our earthly pilgrimage. All Saints Day is triumphant and joyous because it celebrates the lives and examples of these great men and women in their witness to Christ. The colour we use on All Saints Day is white.

All Souls Day has a different feel. It is the day that we remember all the faithful departed who are now with God in Christ. Unlike the saints, who immediately share in heavenly glory, the Church believes that other departed souls continue to grow into perfection as they await the time when they will enter the fullness of God’s radiance. On All Souls Day, we especially remember and pray for those who have touched our own lives, and the men and women of our own parish whose faith and good works have built up the Body of Christ. While All Saints Day is a day of great joy and celebration, All Souls Day has a more sombre and introspective feel. The colour we use on All Souls Day is purple.