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All Saints' Day in Australia

Many churches in Australia mark All Saints' Day on November 1 each year to honor all the saints, particularly those who do not have their own special feast day.

Is All Saints' Day a Public Holiday?

All Saints' Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

All Saints' Day is dedicated to the Christian saints.
All Saints' Day is dedicated to the Christian saints.
©iStockphoto.com/Mary Lane

What Do People Do?

All Saints’ Day is a day for many people of Christian faith in Australia to remember and honor the saints. Some churches hold a special service or mass on All Saints’ Day. Some masses may feature music composed during the Renaissance. Many Christian schools may have lessons for students to learn about the role of saints in the history of Christianity at this time of the year. Special masses are held and prayers are made. However, some news reports have stated that events such as All Saints’ Day are less recognized in Australia modern times.

Public Life

All Saints’ Day is not a nationwide public holiday in Australia.

Background

According to some sources, the idea for All Saints' Day goes back to the fourth century when the Greek Christians kept a festival on the first Sunday after Pentecost (in late May or early June) in honor of all martyrs and saints. Other sources say that a commemoration of “All Martyrs” began to be celebrated as early as 270 CE but no specific month or date is recorded. Pope Gregory IV made All Saints' Day an authorized holiday in 837 CE. It is speculated that the chosen date for the event, November 1, may have been an attempt to supplant the pagan Festival of the Dead (also known as Samhain or the feast of Saman, lord of death).

All Saints' Day, which is celebrated globally, is closely tied with All Souls' Day, which was first instituted at the monastery in Cluny in 993 CE and quickly spread throughout the Christian world. All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day are also linked with Halloween, which is a shortened for the name “All Hallows' Eve”.

Symbols

Symbols commonly associated with All Saints’ Day are:

  • A sheaf of wheat.
  • Rayed Manus Dei (hand of God).
  • The crown.
  • Symbols (including images) of individual saints.

The liturgical color is white on All Saints' Day.

About All Saints' Day in other countries

Read more about All Saints' Day.

All Saints' Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010MonNov 1All Saints' DayChristian 
2011TueNov 1All Saints' DayChristian 
2012ThuNov 1All Saints' DayChristian 
2013FriNov 1All Saints' DayChristian 
2014SatNov 1All Saints' DayChristian 
2015SunNov 1All Saints' DayChristian 
2016TueNov 1All Saints' DayChristian 
2017WedNov 1All Saints' DayChristian 
2018ThuNov 1All Saints' DayChristian 
2019FriNov 1All Saints' DayChristian 
2020SunNov 1All Saints' DayChristian 

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