Hallowtide is one of the nicknames for the period of time around All Saints’ Day – perhaps most especially from All Hallow’s Eve (October 31st) through the Octave of All Saints’ Day. Indeed, we do kind of need a name for the phenomenon of how modern Prayer Books direct that we should observe All Saints’ Day on the first Sunday in November. Last year we looked at that in a brief write-up here, so this year we’re taking a more devotional tack.
There are two groups of hymns to consider when looking at how to sing our way through Hallowtide: hymns about the Church Triumphant and hymns about the Church Expectant (or At Rest). You may be familiar with the Roman pair of All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day on November 1st and 2nd, honoring the Saints in heaven on the former and praying for the souls in purgatory in the latter. Obviously, the Anglican tradition does not teach the Roman doctrine of purgatory, so we have no need of All Souls Day. But many Anglicans today do observe a Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, looking at the mournful side of death (the other side of the coin in All Saints’ Day where we celebrate victory amidst death). So as we sing through Hallowtide we should consider both of these angles along the way.
Here are the hymns appointed in this Customary’s “daily hymnody” plan, remembering that the hymn numbers refer to Book of Common Praise 2017 or Magnify the Lord:
- 31 October: #617 Day of wrath! O day of mourning!
- 1 November: #186 For all the saints
#193 Lord, who shall come to thee
- 2 November: #187 Behold a host arrayed in white
#319 O Lord, my God, I cry to thee
- 3 November: #191 Who are these like stars appearing
- 4 November: #192 I sing a song of the saints of God
- 5 November: #194 The saints of God! their conflict past
- 6 November: #318 Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
- 7 November: #320 I fall asleep in Jesus’ wounds
There are, of course, plenty of other appropriate hymns out there that you could draw in. These are just the ones that I selected from one hymnal for this particular week; there are others are scattered throughout the year on particular saints’ days.
After Hallowtide, you may also wish to consider some national hymns on November 8th through 11th, building towards Remembrance Day (Intl.) / Veteran’s Day (USA).