All Saints’ Day on November 1, 2012
Western Christians celebrate All Saints’ Day on 1st November every year while the Eastern Christians celebrate the day on the
first Sunday after Pentecost, and the day is known as All Saints’ Sunday.
All Saints Day arose out of the Christian tradition of celebrating the martyrdom of saints on the anniversary of their martyrdom. When martyrdoms increased during the persecutions of the late Roman Empire, local dioceses instituted a common feast day in order to ensure that all martyrs, known and unknown, were properly honored.
In the Catholic Church and many Anglican churches, the next day, November 2nd, commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven and hence the day is known as All Souls Day.
All Saints’ Day was first celebrated on May 13, 609 when Pope Boniface IV accepted the Pantheon as a gift from the Emperor Phocas. Boniface dedicated it as the Church of Santa Maria Rotonda in honor of the Blessed Virgin and all martyrs. During Pope Gregory III’s reign (731-741), the festival was expanded to include all saints and a chapel in St. Peter’s church was dedicated accordingly. Pope Gregory IV officially designated the day in 837.
Taken (with some alteration) from enjoyfestivals.com