More Danes go to church on All Saints’ Day than Easter Sunday

Autumn celebration is relevant for many who are in grief, says expert on rituals

More Danes go to church on All Saints’ Day than on Easter Sunday, according to counts from three of the country’s dioceses.

Although Easter is considered the most important celebration in the Christian calendar, more people attend church services on November 1, when they not only celebrate all the saints but also commemorate their deceased loved ones.

In the Funen diocese, for instance, 10,898 visitors participated in the All Saints’ Day services, but only 9,186 came to the local churches on Easter Sunday.

Similar experiences were reported also from Haderslev and Aalborg.

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Sharing their grief
“It has become a tradition for people to go to church on All Saints’ Day and share their grief,” Niels Arne Christensen, a vicar at Holstebro Church, told Kristeligt Dagblad.

“It has simply become a memorial day with specific rituals, such as lighting a candle for the deceased.”

According to Kirstine Helboe Johansen, an associate professor at Aarhus University, the autumn tradition is relevant for many Danes who are going through a grieving process.

On average, twice as many people go to church on All Saints’ Day than to an ordinary Sunday morning service.