All Saints & All Souls Day in Malta
All saint’s day and All soul’s day are Christian holidays that are celebrated in November.
All Saint’s day falls on the first day of November. This day commemorates all Saints recognised and unrecognised. It is a day of celebration and recognition of the dedicated lives of saints and their selfless sacrifice, some of whom paid with their lives during the early centuries of Christian faith. One does not have to look too far to find examples of Saints and their influence, as featured below.
This iconic painting of St John by Caravaggio is aptly located in St Johns’ Co Cathedral in Valletta Malta. This depicts the brutal beheading of St John the Baptist and is thus named.
St Paul, was documented in the bible to be shipwrecked in Malta for several months, where he Introduced Christianity to the Island during the period of 60 AD.The Church of St Paul in Valletta was built to honour him for his significant contribution.
These exceptional examples of faith and devotion inspires a higher gratitude, love and devotion within our own faith. Masses in Malta are held for All Saints day to commemorate all those saints who have ascended to heaven.
Interestingly, the holiday Halloween is derived from this day. ‘Hallow’ meaning holy. Halloween previously referred to as “All Hallows Day”, dedicated to remembering all saints, martyrs and all the faithful since deceased or departed.
All Souls day celebrated on the 2nd of November is a day to remember our loved ones who have passed away. Relatives visit the graves of their dearly departed to offer prayers and respect, leaving flowers on their graves. In Malta all cemeteries are kept open during this time to allow every opportunity to do so. Some give special prayers for those believed to be in purgatory, waiting to be forgiven before entering into heaven due to sins committed whilst here on earth. Special mass sermons are held to pray for the dead and their souls.
During the entire month of November, a sweet that is especially made in Malta to celebrate all souls and all saint’s day is one know as Dead man’s bones- Ghadam tal Mejtin. This is made with pastry that shaped in the form of bones that contains an almond filling. Italy have their own version of a bone biscuit to celebrate this time, named ‘Ossi dei Morti’ which is smaller in size and does not have a filling. The origin of this Maltese sweet may have very well originated from the Italian Influence.