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All Hallows’ Eve – On Fish Eaters

31 October and 1 and 2 November are called, colloquially (not officially), “Hallowtide” or the “Days of the Dead” because on these days we pray for or remember those who’ve left this world.

The days of the dead center around All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows’) on November 1, when we celebrate all the Saints in Heaven. On the day after All Hallows’, called “All Souls’ Day,” we remember the saved souls who are in Purgatory, being cleansed of the temporal effects of their sins before they can enter Heaven. The day that comes before All Hallows’, though, is one on which we unofficially remember the damned and the reality of Hell. The schema, then, for the Days of the Dead looks like this:


Can Halloween be Christianized Again? – (Halloween, a Feast of Charity to the Poor and the Dead) On Return to Order

This is exactly what the Church did to Halloween. In the ninth century, this pagan festival was replaced by a double day celebration remembering all the dead that are saved. All Saints Day remembers those who are uncanonized in heaven so that they might have their feast too. All Souls Day remembers the poor souls who are saved from the eternal fires of hell yet are suffering for a time in purgatory.

On the eve of these two feasts, the bells would ring, and town criers would remind all to pray for the poor souls. Thus, on All Hallows Eve, later Halloween, children from poor families would go door-to-door, receiving food and sweets in exchange for praying for the souls of the dead. This “souling” as it was called, gave rise to canvassing for “soul” cakes which became part of the tradition.


The Fire of Purgatory Comes from Hell – On OnePeterFive

There is in Purgatory, as in Hell, a double pain – the pain of loss and the pain of sense. The pain of loss consists in being deprived for a time of the sight of God, who is the Supreme Good, the beatific end for which our souls are made, as our eyes are for the light. It is a moral thirst which torments the soul. The pain of sense, or sensible suffering, is the same as what we experience in our flesh. Its nature is not defined by faith, but it is the common opinion of the Doctors that it consists in fire and other species of suffering. The fire of Purgatory, say the Fathers, is that of Hell, of which the rich glutton speaks, Quia crucior in hac flamma, “I suffer,” he says, “cruelly in these flames.”


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Additional Tradition –

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In Poland, Catholics decorate the tombs of relatives and pray for them on All Saints Day