November 1 - All Saints Day

Posted on November 1, 2018

A cemetery in Poland on All Saints Day
The first two days of November are considered by many Christians around the world to be All Saints Day and All Souls Day. It's a day to honor one's dead friends and relatives, often by cleaning their tombs or grave markers and then laying flowers, wreaths, or lit candles at each tomb or grave. In Mexico, the two-day holiday is called Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), but today is considered the day to honor deceased children, and tomorrow is the day to honor adults who have died.

A cemetery in England on All Saints Day

I have already written about many of the traditions accompanying these two days in earlier posts, but this years I'd like the highlight Portugal's celebration.

For one thing, All Saints Day is a national holiday in Portugal. People attend religious services and visit the cemetery to honor their dearly departed...

But also, in many regions, the children also have a Pão-por-Deus tradition:

Kids go door-to-door, where they receive sweet things to eat and other treats. The most common treats, in addition to candies, are cakes, nuts, pomegranates and other fruits, and even money. 

This sounds a lot like trick-or-treating, doesn't it? But here are some differences:

The kids are not in costume but are instead well dressed.

The children go door-to-door in the morning, not at night. 

They go to local stores as well as the homes in their neighborhoods, and they often receive samples of the stores' products. For example, at a bakery children receive a small cake or bread, but at a fruit stall children receive a piece of produce or chestnuts. 

Finally, the children say "Pão-por-Deus" to every adult they meet - not just the ones behind doors.

It's surprising to me that Portugal is beginning to adopt Halloween traditions as well, along with much of the world - because I cannot imagine people giving treats at night and then again the next morning???!!?

No comments:

Post a Comment