St. James the Apostle Parish

This week's trivia answer

Letter E) All Saints Day and All Souls Day

Well, as we approach Halloween it seems only appropriate to know the origin of the day. So, this is how the story goes … 

Halloween started thousands of years ago in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. One night of the year, people honored their god of the dead. They believed that the souls of the dead, including bad spirits, came back that night. To scare them away, people wore masks and lit bonfires.

When the Romans conquered these people, they added traditions to honor their goddess of the orchard.  In the year 835, Pope Gregory IV changed the meaning of that night. He made it a time to honor Christians who died for their beliefs. These Christians are called martyrs and now we know them as “saints.”

The night became known as Halloween. The word is made from two words: “hallow” and “e’en.” Hallow means holy and e’en is a shortened form of the word for evening. It is the evening before the day we honor our saints on November 1 (All Saints Day) and all people who died, November 2 (All Souls Day). For us, Halloween makes sense only in light of these two holy days in our church. Yes, Halloween is the holy night before we honor the saints and all who have gone before us.

Knowing this, how might we celebrate Halloween in connection with its origin? You can learn more about this at many websites including or

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