Hallowed Days: All Saints and All Souls Fair

"In the communion of saints, a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things (#1475)." Catechism of the Catholic Church

This coming week, on October 31st - November 2nd, the Church will be celebrating the Hallowed Days (also known as "Days of the Dead"). As we celebrate these feasts, we remember all those who have gone before us, whether they are recognized by the Church as saints or not.

First we have Halloween on October 31st. The name Halloween is shortened from All Hallows' Eve, since it is the eve of All Hallows' Day (also known as All Saints' Day). Next, on November 1st we celebrate the actual feast of All Saints -- this includes all the Saints that have not been canonized and are unknown to us. Then, on November 2nd, we celebrate the feast of All Souls. This day is officially set aside to remember and pray for the poor souls in Purgatory.

The following articles from Catholic Culture are excellent resources for learning more about the history and traditions of these feasts:
I also found the following to be quite helpful:
How, or even whether, to celebrate Hallowe'en is a controversial topic in traditional circles. One hears too often that "Hallowe'en is a pagan holiday" -- an impossibility because "Hallowe'en," as said, means "All Hallows' Evening" which is as Catholic a holiday as one can get. Some say that the holiday actually stems from Samhain, a pagan Celtic celebration, or is Satanic, but this isn't true, either, any more than Christmas "stems from" the Druids' Yule, though popular customs that predated the Church may be involved in our celebrations (it is rather amusing that October 31 is also "Reformation Day" in Protestant circles -- the day to recall Luther's having nailed his 95 Theses to Wittenberg's cathedral door -- but Protestants who reject "Hallowe'en" because pagans used to do things on October 31 don't object to commemorating that event on this day).

Some traditional Catholics, objecting to the definite secularization of the holiday and to the myth that the entire thing is "pagan" to begin with, refuse to celebrate it in any way at all, etc. Other traditional Catholics celebrate it without qualm, though keeping it Catholic and staying far away from some of the ugliness that surrounds the day in the secular world. However one decides to spend the day, it is hoped that the facts are kept straight, and that Catholics refrain from judging other Catholics who decide to celebrate differently.
Source: Fisheaters (use site with caution!)

There are so many wonderful ways to celebrate these feasts with our families:

Eileen shares her families traditions and celebration from last year. I just love the All Saints Tea Party she had for her children, and the Flaming Cupcakes look like so much fun!!

Lori , who recently started blogging over at Busy With Blessings, shares two recipes that her family enjoys making for their All Saints Day festivities, Holy Ghost Cookies and Heavenly Haystacks:

Holy Ghost Cookies
  • Nutter Butter Cookies
  • Almond Bark
  • Mini-Chocolate Chips

Take the Nutter Butter cookies and dip them in melted almond bark. Use mini chocolate chips for the eyes. Let set on waxed paper

Heavenly Haystacks
  • 1 large can of Chow Mein Noodles
  • 1 package Butterscotch Morsels -- melted
  • 1/2 cup Peanuts

Combine the can of chow mein noodles with the package of melted butterscotch morsels and peanuts. Drop into small haystacks on wax paper and let set. We look forward to these each year! Enjoy :)

Sarah shares a wonderful post filled with suggestions and links for these upcoming feasts. Although it isn't a recipe, I was very impressed with her link to the All Saints and All Souls Day Tree. I think we might just have to make one this week! I plan to head back to her blog since she was also shared ideas for some other upcoming feasts later this month!

I am always inspired by Mary over at Our Domestic Church (and a contributor here at Catholic Cuisine as well!). She is very creative, and I just love the recipes that she posted for celebrating All Souls Day. The Sugar Skulls look like so much fun to make, the recipe for Pan de Muerto (a Mexican sweet bread frequently flavored with orange and/or anise) sounds delicious, and her Calacas Cupcakes have got be the cutest skeletons I have ever seen!

Lisa from Creekside Wonder shares a number of their traditions with us including: a recipe for Albondigas (a traditional Mexican Meatball Soup), making Calacas (Sugar Skull Cookies--you can see their finished cookies here), and a beautiful picture of their completed home altar in honor of their departed loved ones.

Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine,
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscant in pace. Amen.

The tradition of carving Jack-o-Lanterns came from the Irish, and they were originally carved turnips. Here is the legend that surrounds the Jack-o-Lantern is as follows:
There once was an old drunken trickster named Jack, a man known so much for his miserly ways that he was known as "Stingy Jack," He loved making mischief on everyone -- even his own family, even the Devil himself! One day, he tricked Satan into climbing up an apple tree -- but then carved Crosses on the trunk so the Devil couldn't get back down. He bargained with the Evil One, saying he would remove the Crosses only if the Devil would promise not to take his soul to Hell; to this, the Devil agreed.

After Jack died, after many years filled with vice, he went up to the Pearly Gates -- but was told by St. Peter that he was too miserable a creature to see the Face of Almighty God. But when he went to the Gates of Hell, he was reminded that he couldn't enter there, either! So, he was doomed to spend his eternity roaming the earth. The only good thing that happened to him was that the Devil threw him an ember from the burning pits to light his way, an ember he carried inside a hollowed-out, carved turnip.

Be sure to save the seeds from your pumpkin carvings to be roasted!! Here is the recipe we use:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds (approx.)
  • 2 TSP melted butter or oil (approx.)
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: garlic powder; cayenne pepper; seasoned salt; Worcestershire Sauce; Cajun seasoning; or Hot Spice Mix (1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 2 tsp. chili powder)
Preheat oven to 300° F. Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and any optional ingredients of your choice. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy. Store airtight.
Option: If you roast them without any of the above optional flavorings, you can now flavor them Spicy-Sweet by doing this: Heat a TBSP of peanut oil in a skillet, add 2 TBSP sugar, and the seeds. Cook the pumpkin seeds over medium high heat for about 1 minute or until the sugar melts and starts to caramelize. Place pumpkin seeds in a large bowl and sprinkle with this mixture: 3 TBSP sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, and a pinch of ground cayenne pepper.

One of our favorite traditions is actually carving Saint-O-Lanterns rather than Jack-O-Lanterns. In fact my children are always discussing what they hope to carve months in advance. This year my boys are planning on trying to carve the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Ascension!

We are going to miss Regina and her family at our All Saints' Party this year, since they recently moved. It has always been fun competing against them in our local Saint-O-Lantern carving contest. (Though the new coordinators decided to not have the competition this year.) You have to go and check out their pumpkins from last year: A Girl Receiving her First Communion and the Nativity. Also, while you are there, don't miss the one her husband carved a few years back of Pope John Paul II. The picture really doesn't do it justice. It was amazing!

Totus Tuus Family recently posted a picture of their beautiful Pumpkin Monstrance. Be sure to click her link to see the yummy looking Pumpkin Pancakes and Hot Apple Cider Sauce that they enjoy during this season. Yummm!

Island in the Grove also shares an excellent idea for converting any of your All Hallows' Eve Jack-O-Lanterns for the feast of All Saints'.

In Catholic Traditions in Cooking, author Ann Ball says that "chestnut dishes are the traditional food in Italy. These dishes are of many sorts, from stuffing's for roasts to cakes and candies." I was excited to see that Jennifer Miller also shares some Italian recipes for these Hallowed Days over at her food blog Family Food for Feast and Feria. The "Chestnut Fritters" sounds absolutely divine, and the "Beef Stew in a Pumpkin Shell with Potato-Pumpkin Puree" sounds delicious as well. I am very intrigued and just might have to order that cookbook she recommends! While your there, don't miss clicking on the links to her past articles. They are very inspiring!

To finish up, I myself have been pouring through some of my favorite Catholic cookbooks these past few weeks, searching for ideas and recipes to incorporate into our own celebration. I compiled a post with ideas for Fasting and Feasting for All Hallows' Eve, All Saints' and All Souls Day over at my blog, Shower of Roses.

We hope you have enjoyed the fair. Thank you to everyone who participated!! If you have contributions to add, I'll continue to take submissions and insert them into the fair. God Bless!

"The glorious company of the apostles praise Thee.
The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise Thee.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise Thee.
All Thy saints and elect with one voice do acknowledge Thee,
O Blessed Trinity, one God!"

-- Feast of All Saints (November 1), Antiphon at Lauds. from the Te Deum

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  1. What an exciting fair - lots of great ideas. It's good to see new faces contributing. Thanks all for participating and to especially Jessica for a lovely compilation.

  2. good job putting this together!

  3. Great posts! Great job putting this together!!

    I just had a total mind block for this fair! We never celebrated like this as kids so I was excited to read the recipes for this!!

    I do have some ideas for thanksgiving though! :)

  4. I truly appreciate all the effort you put into this blogs content and there is a little token of my appreciation (an award) for you on my blog. I am sure you get awards all the time and you may not wish to include or continue it but I wanted you to know that your blog is a blessing to my life.

  5. I have been so busy and never even posted my own day and just now got to read all the links. Good job Jessica! Thanks for posting the story of the jack o lantern, I had read that somewhere before -- that is one reason why we do religious symbols too :)
    All the posts were wonderful!

  6. I clicked on the link for Sarah's musings to see her idea of an All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day tree and it says it's now accessible to invited readers only. Can you help with this? Thanks!