Toussaint, All Saints, 1st November
Halloween In France, Catholic Church Honours Its Saints
Toussaint which translates as All Saints is celebrated on the 1st November and is the day when the Catholic Church honours it’s Saints. Traditionally, the 2nd November is All Souls’ Day and was the day that families and friends remembered their dead. However, as the 1st November is a public holiday, over the years it has become normal for people to combine the honouring and remembering of Saints and their own relatives on the same day. Anyone who has a home in France cannot have missed seeing the arrival of the huge pots of chrysanthemums which arrive in the florists and supermarkets by the middle of October. However, if you are planning a visit to view property for sale during Toussaint please note that most shops, cafés, restaurants and all estate agents will be shut on the 1st November.
The Toussaint Tradition
The Toussaint tradition, which is still widely followed throughout France, is for the family to visit the graves of their ancestors and to take the potted chrysanthemums and light candles on the graves. By the end of the day cemeteries become very colourful as most graves will be covered with the chrysanthemums brought by each family member. As the 1st November is the start of the two week school holiday in France most families will arrive back at the ancestral home to share together in the traditions of Toussaint. Most will visit the graves of each of their relatives, some will attend the church services and nearly all will join together with other family members to enjoy a shared meal with shared memories.
Halloween has only been celebrated in France fairly recently and is still pretty low-key compared to the celebrations in the U.K. Young children have started ‘tricking and treating’ and in the rural areas it is lovely to see these small groups of children in fancy dress going from neighbour’s house to neighbour’s house. Being known to everyone in a small hamlet or village ensures that the group of children are welcomed and do not have to knock on doors that people refuse to open!