All Souls' Day
All Souls’ Day
In Christianity, All Souls’ Day commemorates All Souls, the Holy Souls, or the Faithful Departed; that is, the souls of Christians who have died. Observing Christians typically remember deceased relatives on the day. In Western Christianity the annual celebration is now held on 2 November and is associated with the three days of Allhallowtide, including All Saints’ Day (1 November) and its vigil, Halloween (31 October).In the Catholic Church, “the faithful” refers specifically to baptized Catholics; “all souls” commemorates the church penitent of souls in Purgatory, whereas “all saints” commemorates the church triumphant of saints in Heaven. In the liturgical books of the western Catholic Church (the Latin Church) it is called the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (Latin: Commemoratio omnium fidelium defunctorum), and is celebrated annually on 2 November. In the ordinary form and Divine Worship form of the Roman Rite, it remains on 2 November if this date falls on a Sunday; in the extraordinary form, it is transferred to Monday, 3 November.On this day in particular, Catholics pray for the dead. In the Church of England it is called The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day) and is an optional celebration; Anglicans view All Souls’ Day as an extension of the observance of All Saints’ Day and it serves to “remember those who have died”, in connection with the theological doctrines of the resurrection of the body and the Communion of Saints. In the Eastern Orthodox Church and the associated Eastern Catholic Churches, it is celebrated several times during the year and is not associated with the month of November.
Beliefs and practices associated with All Souls’ Day vary widely among Christian churches and denominations.