The Day After Halloween: Why students have off

Ashley Newman | Staff Writer

Courtesy of Griffin Sendek.
Saint Mary, the mother of Jesus, is recognized with a statue in between the law school and Canevin Hall.

Each year, Duquesne students are gifted with the day after Halloween off from classes. Many people may take the day to relax after the festivities or get ahead on their work, but have you ever wondered why Duquesne always takes Nov. 1 off for a holiday?

Nov. 1 is All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic Church. This day, according to Rev. Bill Christy, the director of the Spiritan Campus Ministry, is “an expression of community with the saints.”

This celebration dates back to Pope Boniface IV when he created the holiday in 609 AD. All Saints Day celebrates just that — all saints. Not only the well-known saints are celebrated each year during the Mass that practicing Catholics are expected to attend.

According to Christy, All Saints Day is a “feast of special importance” that “celebrates all those who have entered heaven, known and unknown.”

To celebrate, many Catholics attend Mass and visit the burial sites of deceased loved ones. It is a day meant for honoring the saints that are in Heaven, and honoring their own loved ones often seems like an appropriate way to celebrate.

You may be wondering why Duquesne chooses to honor All Saints Day and not the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, since both are Holy Days of Obligation recognized by the Catholic Church.
The answer might simply be that the academic calendar lines up better for All Saints Day.

According to Fr. Christy, “It’s my understanding that the University hasn’t taken the feast of the Immaculate Conception as a holiday because it’s often during finals which are difficult to reschedule.”

The feast of the Immaculate Conception falls on Dec. 8, so it is understandable how that would put a damper on scheduling finals.

Students chose to spend the holiday in different ways. Some attended Mass, while others took the time to sleep in and still others spent time with their friends.

One student, sophomore early childhood education major Emily Dalzell, shared how she spent her day off.

“I took the three-day weekend to spend time with my family,” Dalzell said.

Dalzell used this family time to catch up with her mother and two sisters.

Whether you spent your day off honoring All Saints Day or you used it for another reason, hopefully you had a relaxing day off from classes.

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