Halloween isn’t as big of a holiday in France as it is the United States. The day after Halloween, however, is when France celebrates a national holiday instead. All Saints’ Day is celebrated on November 1st of every year and it is a way for the French to commemorate the dead. All Saints’ Day is a religious and public holiday celebrated differently by each family.
All Saints’ Day is actually two holidays rolled into one day. November 2nd is All Souls’ Day, but it is celebrated on November 1st with All Saints’ Day. There are many stories surrounding when the first All Saints’ Day was originally celebrated. Some stories date the celebrations back to Samhain in Celtic traditions. However, other stories date it to May 13th, 609, when Pope Boniface IV converted the Roman Pantheon to a Christian church.
Celebrations in France
Many celebrate All Saints’ Day by remembering Catholic Saints at the All Saints’ Mass. After the All Saints’ Mass, most families journey to the cemeteries to place chrysanthemums or wreaths of everlasting flowers on the graves of their loved ones. Nobody knows how the tradition of laying flowers on the graves began, but it is a fierce tradition that is held onto today. All Saints’ Day is about remembering loved ones and celebrating that they are in Heaven with God. Due to this fact, All Saints’ Day is typically celebrated with family and close friends.
Tips for Traveling to France during All Saints' Day
Those remembering their loved ones on All Saints’ Day simply ask for respect and courtesy as they go through their traditions. Another tip is to not buy or gift chrysanthemums as those flowers are extremely significant to All Saints’ Day because those flowers are typically placed at the graves. It can come off as a little disrespectful if one is gifted a chrysanthemum or if you place them around your home during this time.