All Saints’ Day is a holiday in Guadeloupe every 1 November. On this day, Christian believers remember known and unknown saints of past centuries. All Saints’ Day is a significant occasion on the traditional Christian calendar, and is observed by millions of Christians around the world.
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In Guadeloupe, All Saints’ Day is also known as Toussaint, which means “all the saints”, since the day is designed to honour “all saints both known and unknown”.
Most people get off work and out of school for All Saints’ Day. They sometimes plan big family reunions or at least small family dinners. It is also customary to attend All Saints’ Mass on 1 November.
Culturally, the significance of All Saints’ Day is that it is a welcome day off sitting about halfway between the end of summer and Christmas. Religiously, it has to do with providing a saint day for all saints since some canonised saints lack a separate holiday.
The most notable activity, however, on All Saints’ Day in Guadeloupe is the honouring of the dead. Technically, that is supposed to happen on 2 November, All Souls Day, but people decorate graves on 1 November instead since it is a public holiday and they have the day off work. Chrysanthemums are the most popular All Saints’ Day flower to decorate graves with, but heather and “immortal wreaths” are also traditional. Some light candles around the graves to speak of joy in the next life.
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