All Saints’ Day, also called All Hallows Day, is a national holiday in Austria and is observed every 1 November. It is a day to honour remember all the Christian saints and martyrs of the past who do not yet have a dedicated feast day on the liturgical calendar.
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Austria is overwhelmingly a Catholic country, though it is also a very secular country where only some 10 percent attend mass regularly. The day has its roots in the early days of the Church, when special feast days were set aside for particular martyrs.
As the number of martyrs grew, however, it became impractical to have a separate day for each one, so in the 7th Century the Church declared an official feast day for all saints. In the 8th Century, the holiday was moved to its current date.
At noon on All Saints’ Day, the church bells ring out and observant Christians attend mass before heading to the graveyards to decorate graves of deceased loved ones with flowers and candles. Many times, marigolds and chrysanthemums and other autumn flowers are used, being pre-dried or formed into wreaths.
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