As Halloween approaches, do you know its history? This celebration also is known as All Saints' Eve, observed in many countries on Oct. 31 for centuries. It used to mark a three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year to remember the dead, including saints, martyrs and all the faithfully departed.
In Poland, believers were taught to pray out loud as they walked through forests so the souls of the dead might find comfort. In Spain, priests tolled church bells to remind congregants to remember the dead. In Ireland, Christians practiced abstinence, keeping All Hallows' Eve meat-free to honor the departed. And, in Mexico, children made an altar to invite beloved spirits to return.
The Christian Church traditionally observed Hallowe'en with a vigil. Worshippers prepared to feast on the following All Saints' Day with prayers and fasting. The church service was known as “Night of Light.” After the service entertainment followed, and worshippers visited graveyard to place flowers and candles for All Hallows' Day.