PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

Celebration of life and death

There is one time of the year when people remember their loved ones who passed away. This time is now, between the 31st of October and the 4th of November.

Everything starts with Halloween!

This day has become a day in which we see witches and all kinds of monsters in the streets asking “treat or trick?”. However, this date has a special meaning. It is the All Saints’ Eve (or All Hallow’s Eve)! The beginning of the remembrance period.

The following day is called All Saints’ Day. That is when Christians remember all the Saints and martyrs. It is the occasion to celebrate all the saints who do not have a determined feast day in the calendar of saints. Also, by extension, the only day when people who do not share their first name with a saint can celebrate their ‘name day’ (a common tradition in continental Europe).

While in most countries, All Saints is celebrated on November 1st, following the religious calendar, some countries have a different date just after Easter.

On November 2nd, it is All Souls’ Day, when the souls of those who died leave the earth to go to heaven.

A lot of people (me included) think that this is a day to pray and think of the ones who have left us.

In France, on All Saints’ Day, there is a special service in church, and families gather to visit and keep the graves of their loved ones and put some chrysanthemums on them. However, fewer and fewer people are doing this. This is not because we don’t respect our dead, but it means we now believe we don’t need a day in the calendar to think about them and what they taught us. Many people do not celebrate the dead, but prefer to spend the day together with their families.

There are two countries in particular which turned All Souls’ Day into big a celebration of life and death.

In Sicilia, Italy, and Mexico, people dedicate this day first to the children who passed away and then for the adults. People build altars and leave some gifts, like pictures, flowers or food on it, in memory of the departed.

Then they go to the cemetery throwing flowers along the way to show the souls how to get back to their graves. They take care of the graves and leave flowers and candles. At the end, they share food, listen to music and dance.

All Saints’ Day is not an official bank holiday, but we can see that most of the administration buildings are closed in these countries. However, All Souls’ Day is, and since 2008, it is considered as an Immaterial cultural heritage of the humanity by Unesco.

Learn more about it by clicking the following links.


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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


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