All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen) is not a public holiday in all federal states. We explain the meaning of the day – and where people are free.
November 1st is All Saints’ Day. This year the festival falls on a Monday. However, then it is not a public holiday everywhere. All Souls Day will follow on Tuesday, November 2nd. But what do Christians actually celebrate on these days? Find out more about All Saints’ Day below.
- All Saints’ Day is on Monday: This is why some federal states have time off
- All Souls Day will follow on Tuesday
- Which federal states are free and what All Souls Day is all about
- All Saints’ Day – what is it?
- Why is All Saints Day a public holiday?
- In which federal states is All Saints’ Day a public holiday?
- What is allowed and what is not allowed on All Saints’ Day?
- What is All Souls?
- What customs are there on All Saints ‘Day and All Souls’ Day?
- Is there a connection to Halloween?
- Is All Saints’ Day suitable for a long weekend?
- When will All Saints’ Day take place in the next 3 years?
All Saints’ Day – what is it?
All Saints’ Day is a Christian solemn festival at which all saints are remembered. It came about for a purely pragmatic reason: at some point the Catholic Church knew too many saints. It was simply no longer practicable to dedicate a separate festival to each of them.
FUN FACT: These films may not be shown on All Saints’ Day
There are not only special opening times on public holidays. Not all films may be shown on television on public holidays such as All Saints’ Day. The Institute for Voluntary Self-Regulation (FSK) has also published a list for this.
Every year the FSK checks which films are safe for a public holiday. Safe means that they mustn’t be too funny. That is, if they strongly contradict the character of the holiday. A well-known example of this is the ban on showing “The Life of Brian” on Good Friday.
But there are other films. For example these are:
- Final Destination 5
- Saw IV
- Heidi in the mountains
- Dumb and Dumber 2
- Hot Chick – crazy chickens
Why is All Saints Day a public holiday?
First of all, All Saints’ Day was celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost . Only in the 9th century did the date change to November 1st – again for very secular reasons.
Pope Gregory IV postponed All Saints’ Day because after the harvest and grape harvest there was simply more food available to celebrate a hearty festival. Orthodox Christians still celebrate Remembrance Day on its original date.
In which federal states is All Saints’ Day a public holiday?
- North Rhine-Westphalia
Other countries also celebrate on November 1st. All Saints’ Day is celebrated in these countries, among others:
Sweden and Finland also know All Saints’ Day. There the public holiday falls on the Saturday between October 31st and November 6th. The holiday ceased to exist in the Netherlands in 1960.
What is allowed and what is not allowed on All Saints’ Day?
All Saints’ Day is a so-called silent holiday. This means that no public dance events are allowed to take place.
But the ban does not only apply to clubs, which have to comply with different closing times in the respective federal states. The exact times and modalities are regulated by the respective state holiday laws or additional ordinances. These shops must not be open:
- Folk festivals
As on Sundays, bakers and florists are exempt from the ban . They are allowed to be open for five hours.
What is actually allowed to stay open on All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen)?
The holiday laws show that supermarkets and discounters are generally closed. This also applies to most other businesses. The few shops that are open are only allowed to sell certain products. This mostly includes “travel supplies”, but this also includes tobacco, food and press products. These are the rules in the individual federal states:
- Baden-Württemberg: Bakeries are allowed to open for a maximum of three hours, flower shops for a maximum of six hours. Petrol stations are also usually open. However, you are only allowed to sell “travel supplies, supplies and spare parts”. Shops at airports and train stations are also allowed to open under certain conditions.
- Bavaria: According to the “shop closing law” in Bavaria, bakeries (maximum three hours), flower shops (maximum six hours) and newspaper points of sale (maximum five hours) are allowed to open in Bavaria. Petrol stations are also open, but are only allowed to sell certain goods (fuel, spare parts, travel supplies). You can also go shopping at train stations and airports – but only “travel supplies”.
- North Rhine-Westphalia: Bakeries, flower shops, farm shops and newspaper kiosks are allowed to open for a maximum of five hours. You can also go shopping in petrol stations and at airports or large train stations.
- Rhineland-Palatinate: In Rhineland-Palatinate, too, petrol stations are allowed to sell fuel, spare parts and travel supplies at Allerheiligen. Everyday goods can be sold at airports and large train stations. Farm shops, flower shops, bakeries and newspaper sales outlets are also allowed to open.
- Saarland: On most public holidays, flower shops, newspaper sales outlets and bakeries are allowed to open for a maximum of five hours – including on All Saints’ Day. Petrol stations also sell fuel, spare parts and travel supplies, which are also available at airports and train stations.
What is All Souls?
All Souls Day is celebrated on November 2nd to commemorate the deceased. The day goes back to the abbot Odilo of Cluny, who introduced it to all of his monasteries in 998. According to the Catholic view, all dead who do not go straight to paradise are in purgatory. In order to alleviate their agony there, one should pray for them.
Unlike All Saints’ Day, All Souls Day is not a public holiday in any region in Germany . In Mexico, the Día de los muertos festival of the dead is known, which is a amalgamation of indigenous traditions with the Christian All Souls Day.
What customs are there on All Saints ‘Day and All Souls’ Day?
On the morning of November 1st, masses are held in honor of all Christian saints and martyrs . The focus is now more on dealing with the death of loved ones. In some places, the grave blessing already follows in the afternoon . Then the graves are decorated with so-called soul lights.
Also on All Souls Day, believers visit the graves of relatives and friends. Depending on the region, there are different types of pastries on both days – such as the Allerheiligenstriezel in southern Germany.
Is there a connection to Halloween?
In the British Isles in particular, there was a custom where poor children could beg for a so-called All Souls Cake. It is believed that Irish emigrants brought this tradition to the USA, where children still go from house to house on Halloween in disguise and threaten the residents with “trick or treat” – in German: “Trick or treat!”
And there is another indication that both festivals have something in common. In English, the evening before All Saints’ Day is called “All Hallows Eve”, which is pretty close to the word “Halloween”.
Is All Saints’ Day suitable for a long weekend?
All Saints’ Day, on the other hand, is a good opportunity to take longer days off without spending a lot of time . This applies even more to those federal states in which Reformation Day is also a public holiday. In 2021, All Saints’ Day falls on a Monday.
When will All Saints’ Day take place in the next 3 years?
- All Saints’ Day 2022: Tuesday
- All Saints’ Day 2023: Wednesday
- All Saints’ Day 2024: Friday