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What is Christian Holiday All Souls Day?

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A man walking towards the moon.

All Souls Day is a Christian holiday to honor the dead.

We celebrate it on the 2nd of November every year.

According to Wikipedia, All Souls Day is also known as Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed.

Even though the day is honored in the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox and other churches celebrate the feast as well.

However, several Protestant churches do not recognize the feast.

Some even disagree with the theology behind it.

Also, within the Catholic and Orthodox churches, beliefs and practices associated with All Souls Day are different.

So, what is All Souls Day? Why is the feast day controversial, and what happens on All Souls Day?

1 Corinthians 15:52-54:

    "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'"

What is All Souls Day?

According to Wikipedia, All Souls Day is a day of prayer and remembrance for souls who have departed.

We also know it as Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and we celebrate it on the 2nd of November.

Latin Catholics, Western Christianity, and many others celebrate all Souls Day.

Christians remember deceased loved one’s in various ways on All Souls Day.

This is because beliefs and practices differ among the church denominations.

We celebrate all Souls Day the next day after All Saints’ Day.

What happens on All Souls Day?

All Souls Day is a great Christian Holiday celebrated in many countries.

But because of different practices and beliefs, the celebrations might vary.

Since the day is for celebrating the departed souls, Christians light up candles and cook special foods.

Also, there are special masses, and prayers conducted in various churches.

Why do Christians celebrate All Souls Day?

We observe all Souls Day on the 2nd of November.

It is a day to pray for the departed souls.

According to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, when a person dies, his or her soul can go to one of the three places.

If a person dies in a fit state of grace and communion with God, the soul goes to heaven.

If a person dies in a state of mortal sin, the soul goes to hell.

However, souls of people free from mortal sin, but still in a state of lesser sin, go to purgatory.

In purgatory, souls are cleansed and improved before entering heaven.

Thus, Catholics believe that through prayers of those faithful on earth, they can cleanse the dead to enter heaven.

Thus, the holiday is dedicated to prayers and remembrance.

Most catholic churches in the Western world hold requiem masses.

Also, some people visit the graves of their loved one’s.

The All Souls Day Controversy

However, the belief in purgatory is controversial.

Many Christians and churches believe Christians cannot pray for the dead.

Thus, All Souls Day is a feast not observed in some countries.

All Souls Day is not a Holy Day of obligation.

Thus, All Souls Day should not be confused with All Saints’ Day.

All Saints’ Day is the Holy Day of Obligation.

It is much celebrated in Western countries.

However, the Eastern Orthodox has several such feasts throughout the year.

Also, many churches across the world celebrate the feast differently.

For instance, in America, Christians say special prayers and light candles for the departed souls.

In Latin America, people visit the graves of the departed and leave food offerings.

What is the origin of All Souls Day?

From the early days, Christians have devoted some prayers for particular groups of the dead.

However, All Souls Day was established by Saint Odilo of Cluny.

The day was to commemorate the dead.

The tradition spread quick, and they adopted it throughout the Western Church.

During that time, Saint Odilo Cluny became a very popular monastery in Europe.

Saint Odilo reformed the monastic practices not only at Cluny, but in many places all over Europe.

Today, All Souls Day is a great Christian holiday all over the world.

What is the difference between All Souls Day and All Saints’ Day?

Most people confuse All Souls Day and All Saints’ Day.

Even though the two feast days are related, they are not the same.

First, All Souls Day takes place on the 2nd of November every year while All Saints’ Day takes place a day before, on the 1st of November.

We dedicate all Souls Day to honoring the souls of dead people who have not reached heaven.

The prayers help the souls in their purification.

All Saints’ Day is to honor souls that have made it to heaven.

Since there are many saints, the feast day is to celebrate and pray for all of them.

How is All Souls Day celebrated?

Catholics all over the world have unique ways of celebrating All Saints’ Day.

Some of how people celebrate All Souls Day include:

Germany–Christians celebrate the day peacefully.

Also, it is a tradition to provide bread rolls known as Seelen or Souls.

United States–in some parts of the United States, you will find celebrations of All Souls Days.

For instance, in Los Angeles, some people wear costumes and there are dancing and participation in the street.

Peru–people offer sweets and decorated bread rolls on All Souls Day.

They shape some treats like small kids.

Poland–All Souls Day is a glorious holiday in Poland.

Unlike other countries in Poland, Christians spend the Holy Day in quiet reflection.

At cemeteries, Christians light candles to remember the departed.

Hungary–people in Hungary skip Halloween to celebrate All Souls Day.

Catholics spend the day in solemn prayers where they visit churches for special prayers.

Final Thoughts

All Souls Day is a Christian holiday with historical and religious routes.

It is a feast day to commemorate the faithful departed.

Churches such as Roman Catholic, Anglican Communion, and others celebrate the festival.

According to catholic beliefs, some souls go through temporary punishment because of their venial sins.

However, whether the souls are in heaven, hell, or purgatory, it is a great opportunity to honor and remember the departed.