Monday, Ist November is All Saints Day, 2021.
Also called All Hallows’ Day, or the Solemnity of All Saints, it’s a celebration of all saints, known and unknown, in our Christian history.
Food for the feast
Some countries celebrate with food made especially for the occasion.
In Austria, it’s traditional for godparents to give godchildren a plaited loaf of bread on November 1st.
Chestnuts and roasted sweet potatoes are also the order of the day!
In Italy, roasted chestnuts, pumpkin risottos and truffles are popular around this time. Other traditional dishes vary by region, but include ceci con le costine, a comforting soup, and Pan co’Santi, a fluffy, sweet bread with walnuts and raisins, popular in Siena.
On the day after All Saints, All Souls, many Italians enjoy pan dei morti, or ‘bread of the dead’ – a traditional cookie.
In England in days gone by, soul cakes were given out around the time of All Saints and All Souls, and often kept, for luck. They’re small, round cakes with a cross on top, and sometimes more like a shortbread biscuit with nutmeg, cinnamon or ginger, raisins or currents.
Recipes vary from region to region, but you can click here for a nice one.
In some countries, it’s traditional to light candles and place flowers on the graves of loved ones on this day.
Here are three of my own favourites!
Saint Anthony – patron saint of lost or stolen things. There’s a little verse that people who are looking for something often say: Dear Saint Anthony, all in brown, something is lost and can’t be found.
Saint Joseph of Cupertino – you can ask him for assistance with examination questions. This is because traditionally, he passed an important exam after being asked the only question he knew the answer to!
Saint Francis of Assisi – associated with animals and the environment. Some churches organise blessings of pets around his feast day, October 4.
For all the Saints
I’ll wish you a happy feast of All Saints, and leave you with my favourite verse of the hymn.
Oh, bless’d communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine,
Yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.