Allhallowtide with Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day

There are several people who claim Halloween would be an American celebration brought over to Belgium and the Netherlands recently. Though, such days to honour or celebrate the dead has been around in these regions already for many centuries.

Early on, there were the Celts who remembered their dead. The festival of Samhain or Samain, in ancient Celtic religion, was and is still one of the most important and sinister calendar festivals of the year. It was first celebrated among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland.

The conversion to Christianity or to Christendom had inevitably a profound effect on the socio-religious system from the 5th century onward. The Roman Catholic Church was very handy in converting heathen people to their faith, by taking over many of the heathen festivals. In such way by the early 7th century the church had succeeded in relegating the druids to ignominious irrelevancy, while the filidh, masters of traditional learning, operated in easy harmony with their clerical counterparts, contriving at the same time to retain a considerable part of their pre-Christian tradition, social status, and privilege and incorporating all those Celtic festivals in West European Catholicism.

Pope Boniface IV liked the idea of such a dedication for those who died for his faith. When he dedicated the Pantheon in Rome as a church in honour of the Blessed Virgin and all martyrs in 609, the idea of taking November the 1st to remember the ‘saints’ got more favour all over Europe.

The first evidence for the November 1 date of celebration and of the broadening of the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs occurred

During the reign of Pope Gregory III (731–741), a chapel in St. Peter’s, Rome, on November 1 got dedicated in honour of all saints. The Anglo-Latin poet, educator, and cleric Alcuin, as head of the Palatine school established by Charlemagne at Aachen, introduced the traditions of Anglo-Saxon humanism into Western Europe and in 800 established “All Saints’ Day” (or All Hallows’)  on November 1. It also appeared in a 9th-century English calendar on that day. In 837 Pope Gregory IV ordered its general observance.

All Hallows or Halloween initiated the season of Allhallowtide, which lasts three days and concludes with All Souls’ Day. Originally it was a time the world of the gods was believed to be made visible to humankind, and the gods played many tricks on their mortal worshippers. For many it was the time of darkness coming over mankind. A time fraught with danger, charged with fear, and full of supernatural episodes. To please the gods sacrifices were made and it was taught that by clothing oneself in such a way that one could frighten the spirits and gods, they would be safe again for another year. Propitiations of every kind were thought to be vital, for without them the Celts and Early Europeans believed they could not prevail over the perils of the season or counteract the activities of the deities.


Dutch version / Nederlandstalige versie: Allhallowgetijde met Halloween, Allerheiligen en Allerzielen

Sequel: Dia de Los Muertos – Day of the dead



Additional reading

  1. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend
  2. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 3 Black Mass, Horror spectacles and pure puritans
  3. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  4. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 5 People, souls and saints in the news
  5. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 6 Bonfire night
  6. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  7. October month of witches and spirits
  8. In October-November People often too busy with death and the dead
  9. Days of madness with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils
  10. Thought for November 1: To the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
  11. All Saints’ Day
  12. All Souls’ Day
  13. Measure of loneliness whilst time drags
  14. What traditions/rituals/routines do you have for welcoming Autumn?
  15. Thought for today November 4th Going to graveyards and people going to dust
  16. Today’s thought “Not stopping doing what is right” (November 5)
  17. Halloween is Satanist Christmas
  18. Solstice, Saturnalia and Christmas-stress
  19. Winter Solstice 2015: Shortest Day Of The Year Celebrated As Pagan Yule
  20. Christmas in Ancient Rome (AKA Saturnalia)
  21. Family happiness and little things we do


Further related

  1. Celtic Mythology: Mixing Animals, Birds, Humans and Gods — Under the influence!
  2. Review of Idolatry and the Construction of the Spanish Empire by Mina García Soormally
  3. All Hallows
  4. Where Does Halloween Come From?
  5. Origin of Halloween
  6. Mabon
  7. The story behind Halloween – Myths and Legends
  8. Factoid About Halloween
  9. Of Swine and Samain: Aspects of Early Irish Samain Lore and Law
  10. Crom CruachMoonDay Musings: the magic of storytelling
  11. Is Halloween a Christian holiday?
  12. Myths and legends about Halloween
  13. Halloween Tradition
  14. Halloween -mystery, magic and superstition….by Ifi
  15. Witchcraft, folk magic, and ethnobiographic studies
  16. The veil between the material world and the ‘other world’.
  17. All Saints Day: From Ordinary to Extraordinary!
  18. Halloween in Japan
  19. Samhain
  20. Samhuinn: Rosemary, that’s for Remembrance
  21. Death
  22. Dead
  23. Honoring the Dead on Halloween
  24. Samhain Modern Style
  25. Glory to the Witches
  26. Inktober 2019 Day 31: Ouija
  27. Waiting For The Dead On Halloween
  28. All Saints Day
  29. All Saints’ Day/Sunday C: Nov. 1 or 3
  30. What is All Saints Day?: a brief summary
  31. Witchy Weekends: Samhain
  32. Blessed Samhain
  33. Dagaz Rune Divination for Samhain, 2021
  34. Come In, November…
  35. All Saints Day ‘Allerheiligen’ November 1st
  36. Happy Feast of All Saints!
  37. Graveyard Walk
  38. Celebrating the dead
  39. Demons and the Unexplained: Demonic Mysteries
  40. Chrysanthemums and All Souls’ Day
  41. Seven Similarities Between World Vegan Day and Wiccan New Year Today: but veganism has nothing to do with celebrating Samhain or Halloween. As Christians we can show all respect to nature and keep to God’s original Will that we as human beings would eat from the green provided by the Only real One God. Wiccan’s would love to see a connection with vegetarian Christians, but we as Christians keep to God’s Law and distantiate totally from all heathen festivals.
  42. Prayer for the Unknown Dead on Samhain
  43. Blessed Samhain
  44. A blessing for my people, at Samhain.
  45. Samhain Altar
  46. Too those who have come before…
  47. Happy New Year!
  48. Samhain 2021
  49. 1st November 2021 Happy New Year
  50. Nephthys; The Veiled GoddessMedicine Woman + Prophet for the Samhain+ Venus Gateway of Transformation
  51. Is This Foreshadowing Something? – Facebook’s New Name Means “DEAD” In Hebrew
  52. Christmas is Pagan!

Published by Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".

6 thoughts on “Allhallowtide with Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day

  1. Thank you so much for the history lesson on Halloween and All Saints Day, as well as the Day of the Dead… Of which I am very much aware! My use of Halloween and All Saints Day are metaphors here to express points in behavior…tricks…treats…saintly…expressing a point to be one’s better self instead….. Thanks for reading!


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