Hanover. All Souls Day takes place on November 2nd every year and is an important day for many devout Christians. Even if the Christian high festival on All Saints’ Day the day before plays a far more important role, All Souls’ Day also has a relevant status in the faith community.
Is All Souls’ Day an official holiday?
With Reformation Day (October 31), All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2), three Christian festivals follow one another. Additionally, Reformation Day shares its date with Halloween, which originally derives from ancient Irish traditions on the eve of All Saints’ Day.
While the Reformation Day for Protestant Christians and All Saints’ Day for Catholic Christians are high holidays, All Souls’ Day plays a rather subordinate role. Therefore, in many places either October 31 or November 1 is recognized as an official holiday. This does not apply to All Souls’ Day. November 2nd is nevertheless an important day of remembrance and many churches hold services to coincide with it.
Where is All Souls Day free?
Since All Souls’ Day is not an official holiday, this day is a normal working day and there is no ban on dancing, as is the case in many places on All Saints’ Day, for example. This year, however, November 2 falls on a Saturday. So, along with the previous holidays, All Souls Day could be part of the long weekend for many.
In Austria, 2 November is also not an official holiday, but there are no classes in public schools and there are no lectures at some universities.
What is the meaning of All Souls’ Day?
As the name suggests, All Souls’ Day commemorates all the deceased and their souls. For this purpose, the graves of relatives are decorated and small lights are lit. Prayers, alms and intercessions are intended to grant indulgences to the souls who remain in purgatory and thus enable them to ascend to the kingdom of heaven. Unless they have already been carried out on All Saints’ Day, the blessing of graves by a Catholic priest is also one of the annual customs.
What is the origin of All Souls’ Day?
The origin of All Souls’ Day dates back to 998 AD. At that time, the abbot Odilo of Cluny issued a decree which stated that in all the monasteries under his authority November 2nd should be used as a memorial day for the deceased. This custom later spread to the population outside of the monasteries. Eventually, All Souls’ Day established itself as a day of remembrance in Rome and became an important event in the Catholic faith.
How does All Souls’ Day relate to All Saints’ Day?
All Souls’ Day takes place on November 2nd, the day immediately following All Saints’ Day. November 1st is the day of honor and commemoration of all holy and blessed men and women of the Catholic Church. Over the centuries, many thousands of the deceased have been canonized or beatified by the incumbent popes. This is how their virtue in life or their suffering of martyrdom should be honored. Since not every saint or blessed could have their own memorial day, a comprehensive holiday was created.
What does All Souls Day have to do with the Mexican Day of the Dead?
The Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos in Spanish, is one of the most important Mexican holidays. Like All Souls’ Day, it is considered a traditional commemoration day for the deceased. The old Mexican belief says that once a year the dead come back to earth to celebrate the great reunion together with the living. Music and good food are just part of the far-reaching festivities of this joyful occasion. Streets, cemeteries and homes are adorned with flowers and lights, and the people with their brightly colored robes and painted faces make for a hustle and bustle.
Dias de Muertos in Mexico. Every year, the festivities to commemorate the dead take place from October 31st to November 2nd.
The days of the dead are part of the traditional folk belief, which even Christian missionaries could not abolish during the colonial period. However, due to European influence, the Días de Muertos were merged with the Christian commemoration days of All Saints and All Souls’ Day. They take place every year from the evening of October 31st to November 2nd all over Mexico.