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All Saints' Day is commemorated on Nov. 1 to bless the deceased.

Halloween, All Saints' Day, Day of the Dead and Reformation Day — lots of events are packed into Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

Halloween is Oct. 31 in the United States.

It became popular in America in the 1800s when large numbers of Irish and Scottish people immigrated to America.

The Celts, ancestors of the Irish and Scots honored Samhain, the Celtic lord of death with a festival on the day they believed Samhain allowed dead souls to return home, which was the last day of their year, Oct. 31. When Rome conquered the Celts, the Roman festivals of Feralia and Pomona became a part of the day.

Another layer of Halloween came from the Middle Ages. People believed that the devil and his followers would come out the night before to mock All Saints' Day and perform unholy acts.

The Oct. 31 evening was referred to as All Hallows' Eve, often pronounced All Hallow E'en. Hallow comes from a word meaning holy man or saint.

Oct. 31 is also the anniversary of what became the Protestant Reformation.

In 1517, Martin Luther posted his "95 Theses," which tackled the subject of indulgences, a way the church was allowing people to purchase repentance. The financial practice was used by some leaders to raise money, by allowing salesmen to market them on commission.

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Luther's act is considered the start of the Reformation. His intent wasn't to start a new church, but to begin a discussion and clean up what he saw as bad practices. Instead, Luther upset church leadership, lived the rest of his life as an outlaw, and started a movement picked up by many other Christians across Europe.

In 834, All Saints' Day, which honors all Christian saints, especially those without a feast day, was moved from the spring to Nov. 1. The Mexican version is Day of the Dead, which honors deceased relatives.

Each of the ancient observances brought a symbol to the current celebrations: bonfires and costumes from the Celts; apples from the Romans; and various concepts of death, including deceased ancestors visiting from the Celts and the Mexicans, and honoring the dead from the Romans.

As Hispanic culture becomes more visible in the United States, so have many symbols of the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration. Altars filled with drink, food and family photos welcome the spirts home. Sugar skulls, a common sight for Día de los Muertos celebrations, are sold by mass marketers. The festival was even the setting of the Disney movie "Coco."

Visit to learn more about the traditional celebration.

For nonreligious people who seek to honor those who have passed, several organizations are hosting the 2021 Secular Day of the Dead on Nov. 2.

Visit to read more about it.

Sources: Dictionary of Christianity, J.C. Cooper; World Book; The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion, Jonathon Z. Smith, editor; World Religions, John Bowker;;;

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