All Saints' Day in France 2024

Until All Saints' Day in France are 112 days, ie 3 months and 20 days.

In 2024 All Saints' Day in France is on November 1st (friday).

All Saints Day in France is an official holiday and has a short and catchy name: Touissant.

Origins of Toussaint

All Saints' Day has been celebrated since the 7th century. Pope Boniface IV has set the celebrations for May 13. The reason for the creation of the new holiday was the consecration of the Church of Sainte-Marie-et-des-martyrs (Mary and martyrs). The church building was previously a pagan temple - the Pantheon. Toussaint was then to replace the pagan Roman Lemuria, which was celebrated to scare away the evil spirits of the dead. The celebration of Toussaint was moved to November 1 in the IX century by Pope Gregory IV. This date was chosen because the pope assumed that by having another kind of celebration, associated with the dead, people would abandon the Celtic rituals, which accompanied the festival of Shamhain. It is worth emphasizing that the rites related to the religion of druids were very gloomy and brutal.

Masses and visiting graves

Celebrations of Touissant begin on the evening of 31th of October. There is a special evening mass, called "vepres". There are also special services on the 1st of November. Apart from the participation in the masses (which is done not so often by the French), Toussaint is celebrated by visiting the graves of deceased family members and friends. The usual work is being done to clean up the graves and arrange flowers on them. When it comes to typical French customs, special dusters are often used to clean graves. People light candles. Some of the cemeteries have stone lanterns, which are called "lanternes des morts". They are lit in the cemetery during the time of Touissant. Those types of lanterns are the most common in Brittany, which lies in the northwest of France, and the central regions of the country. During Toussaint, there is a lot of things that the French people need to do by themselves. One of those things is to take care of the graves of family members. In France taking care of graves is a private affair and it is not acceptable to let it be done by strangers.

Decorating the graves with chrysanthemums - a French custom

Not everyone knows that decorating graves with chrysanthemums dates back to the 1920s. This custom was introduced after the declaration of the armistice in France in 1918, which ended the First World War. Both commanders and soldiers felt obliged to commemorate those killed during the conflict. President of France, Raymond Poincare and Prime Minister Clemenceau, ordered soldiers to decorate graves with chrysanthemums. The flowers are colourful and impressive, and they bloom in autumn. Chrysanthemums are regarded as the symbol of immortality because they withstand moderate frost. They are called in France "daisies of the dead". Before the initiative of the president and prime minister, the French lit candles on the graves of the deceased. It symbolized life after death.

Toussaint cuisine

During this season people meet in the circle of family and friends. They talk about the deceased, sing and tell stories. Sometimes they have a special supper, which is eaten at midnight. The people eat pancakes with bacon and black grain and drink cider. It is a special meal consumed to honour the dead.

Toussaint holidays and toussaint weather

Toussaint is also associated with potatoes. The first of November is the time when the potatoes are ready to be harvested. Whole families used to do it in the old times. Because food as a bare necessity of life was more important than other things, lots of the children took part in the harvest and have to miss school. This period was often called "potato holidays." Nowadays children have a better time and real holidays. The so-called "La Toussaint" last for two weeks, starting from around October 25th. There is no school and children have free time to enjoy their families and friends, and also to visit cemeteries, thinking about the deceased. This holiday season is often marked by gloomy weather. Rain, darkness, mist... A real "Toussaint weather" (Un vrai temps de Toussaint), as people in France say.

Other years

Day of the weekDateName of holiday
TuesdayNov 1st, 2022All Saints' Day in France 2022
WednesdayNov 1st, 2023All Saints' Day in France 2023
SaturdayNov 1st, 2025All Saints' Day in France 2025
SundayNov 1st, 2026All Saints' Day in France 2026
MondayNov 1st, 2027All Saints' Day in France 2027
WednesdayNov 1st, 2028All Saints' Day in France 2028
ThursdayNov 1st, 2029All Saints' Day in France 2029

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