Customs & Traditions: All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day
Have you already heard about All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day? On these two days, Austrians remember the deceased. Here is the most important information about these days of remembrance.
Centuries ago, a considerable number of saints had accumulated. The Catholic Church could not celebrate every saint on a different day. Therefore, the church began to celebrate all saints on a single day, November 1, calling it All Saints’ Day.
In Austria, it is customary to bake a so-called All Saints’ Day Striezel. A Striezel is a yeast pastry in the shape of a braid. Godparents give their godchildren a Striezel on All Saints’ Day. A nicely baked Striezel is supposed to bring luck and success in the coming year.
Traditionally, graves are decorated on November 1. This is the transition from All Saints’ Day to All Souls’ Day.
A festivity for all deceased
As the name implies, All Saints’ Day is dedicated to all saints. However, All Souls’ Day is celebrated on November 2. A day when people remember all the deceased in purgatory. The departed have to expiate their sins in purgatory before going to heaven. People aim to reduce the suffering of the deceased in purgatory and assist them on their way to heaven.
By the way, All Saints’ Day is not only a religious festivity. In Austria, it is a bank holiday too. This means, November 1 is a day off. All Souls’ Day however, is not a bank holiday in Austria.
Do you celebrate All Saints’ Day and/or All Souls’ Day? If yes, what are your customs and traditions?