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All Saints' Day in the United Kingdom

Many churches, particularly Catholic and Anglican churches, in the United Kingdom annually mark All Saints' Day on November 1. This occasion honors all the saints in Christian history, 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.

©iStockphoto.com/Mary Lane

What Do People Do?

All Saints’ Day is a chance for people to remember the saints and martyrs who dedicated or sacrificed their lives to Christianity. Some people attend special church services on this feast day. Some Christian schools may offer certain activities to students prior to or on All Saints’ Day. These activities focus on the theme of various saints’ lives and their role in the history of Christianity.

Public Life

All Saints’ Day is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom.

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 is also closely linked with Halloween, which is a shortened for the name “All Hallows' Even”.

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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