ALL SOULS DAY
Every year on November 2nd, All Souls Day commemorates baptized Christians who are believed to be in purgatory. The day is also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed.
Both All Souls Day and the Day of the Dead honor the souls of the dearly departed. However, they are not the same and there are major differences between the two. The Day of the Dead began in Mexico. This day focuses on a celebration of the departed. It’s also a day the living try to briefly reunite with their lost loved ones.
On All Souls Day, Catholics are encouraged to pray for the souls of their loved ones. They do this because their souls might be in purgatory. This is a temporary place of punishment that sinners are waiting to be purified of their sins before ascending to heaven. The idea of purgatory came about during the Middle Ages in 1170. The teaching stems from a verse in the book of 2 Maccabees, which is included in the Catholic Bible. Roman Catholics teach that souls end up in purgatory when they are not in a perfect state of grace and communion with God when they die.
All Souls Day is not observed by most Protestant denominations, as they do not believe in purgatory. Some protestant churches, however, such as the Anglicans observe the day by praying for the dead.
HOW TO OBSERVE #AllSoulsDay
All Souls Day is not a Holy Day of Obligation, unlike All Saints Day where Catholics are required to attend Mass. Despite this, there are still many Roman Catholic Churches that hold special services on this day. During these services, Priests either wear black for mourning, violet for penance, or white for the hope of the resurrection.
Other ways Catholics observe this day include:
- Visit the resting place of the deceased.
- Take some favorite things of the departed to their gravesite.
- Light candles to remember the dearly departed.
- Create an online memorial page.
- Have a simple feast with family members.
- Ask a priest to pray for the souls of departed loved ones.
You can also share this day on social media with #AllSoulsDay.
ALL SOULS DAY HISTORY
Odilo, the fifth Benedictine abbot of Cluny, established All Souls Day. Cluny was located in France and considered the most important monastery in Western Europe. Odilo had become abbot in 994. He chose the date of November 2nd as it comes directly after All Saints Day.