This morning, I woke up with When the Saints Go Marching In going round, and round, my head. I had an vision of all the saints, marching together in unison like a marching band, including my name saint – St Andrew – banging in time with the cross he was martyred on.
Today, it is the 1st November, the day after Halloween; a Christian observation that is still going today, named All Saints’ Day. This is the day where all saints and holy people are celebrated, even the ones that don’t have a special holiday of their own. It’s technically still part of the Halloween holiday, called Hallowmas or Hallowtide,¹ which stretches from 31st October to 2nd November.
This includes All Souls’ Day, which is on the 2nd. (Since it falls on a Sunday tomorrow, I might as well call it All Souls’ Sunday!) This used to be a Roman festival that was on the 13th May, and got moved to November, during the early Middle Ages, to replace Samhain,² as both observations were both pretty much about the dead.
People today still observe All Saints’ Day, especially all across Europe, Mexico, the Philippines, and Argentina. But now it’s become combined with All Souls’ Day, returning to the ancient tradition to remember the dead, as well as those who are much-loved and missed. It’s been reported in the news today that there have been a big gatherings of people placing candles around memorials and graves,³ while praying for those they have lost.
Although I’m Greek Orthodox, but I don’t really hear much about All Saints’ Day. I only know about it, because it’s in my iCal on my MacBook, which means that it must be a holiday of some importance. When I was in France last year, we had the day after Halloween off work, so it’s seen as a national holiday there. Perhaps I’m becoming more aware these days?
There is a hymn for this day, named For All The Saints, but I think When the Saints Go Marching In is a much better fit. It’s more fun anyway. 😀 Imagine all the saints, marching together, in unison every 1st November? I learnt this song as a child, but with a much more march-y type tempo than Mr Louis Armstrong, see below.
Enjoy, and let’s go marching right in to the new month together!