All Souls’ Day
All Souls’ Day, also known as Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, is a day of prayer that’s observed by Catholics and other Christian denominations every year on November 2.
The Day is also called Feast of All Souls Day, Defuncts’ Day in Hungary, France Italy, and Ecuador, and Day of The Dead in Mexico.
For the past few days Christians have been seeing their graveyards to clean the graves of the loved ones for the observance of All Souls Day which falls on November 2 (today). There’s been a hustle and bustle in graveyards in and around the city as grass and dead leaves are swept off, graves covered with stone or cement have been washed and cleaned if they aren’t. The entire place has a fresh and clean appearance befitting this significant event for the Christian community. How a lot of those present in the graveyard understand what it’s all about is not understood but their love and commitment to their long gone dear ones is moving, to say the least.
For People Who are unfamiliar with this festival a brief explanation about why this day is detected follows. We are familiar with Halloween (literally “sacred evening”), also known as All Saints’ Eve, an yearly holiday celebrated on October 31. Advice on this says it has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and has its name from being the day ahead of the Western Christian sacred day of All Saints (Nov 1st). It’s largely a secular celebration as can be judged by the manner in which it’s marked all over the world but is perceived by some leaders to have spiritual overtones.
All Saints’ Day – sometimes called the “Day of the Dead” (in the Roman Catholic Church officially the ‘Solemnity of All Saints’) is celebrated on the first of November in honor of all the saints, known and unknown. The day commemorates all those who’ve reached saintly vision in heaven. Specifically, from the Catholic Church, the next day, All Souls’ Day, which commemorates the deceased faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven) is always November 2. It is a Roman Catholic day of remembrance for friends and loved ones who have passed away, knowingly after All Saint’s Day in order to shift the attention from those in heaven to those in purgatory and is celebrated with festivities and masses in honor of the dead. While the Feast of All Saints is a day to remember the glories of heaven and people that are there, All Souls Day reminds of obligations to live holy lives so that there will be purification of the souls of those destined for heaven.
Besides particular prayers in churches, many customs are associated with All Souls Day celebrations. The offers are all beautifully arranged with flowers such as marigolds, which would be the traditional flower of the dead, while a candle is lit for each spirit. Incense is also often used and mementos, photographs and other paraphernalia of the dead might also be shown. It is a time when households fondly remember the dead person but it’s also a time marked by muted festivity.
The purpose of the day is to remember and pray for the souls who are in Purgatory, it’s a place or state of anguish inhabited by the souls who are expiating their sins prior to going to heaven.
In Christian heritage, All Souls’ Day was popularized by French monks who designated a particular day for remembering the dead in 998 AD.
It is a Roman Catholic day of remembrance for friends and loved ones who’ve left for their heavenly abode. All Soul’s Day has its roots in the early Pagan Festival of the Dead, based on the pagan belief that the souls of the dead would return for a meal with the family members. Candles kept in the window guide the souls back home and also another place was set at the table. Kids came requesting food to be offered symbolically to the dead, but then distributed them among the hungry.
Catholics believe that those who die are not immediately eligible for the Beatific vision (the reality and goodness of God and heaven) and need to be purged of their sins. The Catholic Church calls this purification of the select “purgatory.” The Catholic church maintains that
(a) that there will be a purification of those believers prior to entering heaven and,
(b) the prayers and masses of the loyal benefit those in the state of purification.
In All Soul’s Day the relatives and friends of the departed souls pray and provide requiem masses. There are just three Requiem Masses which are stated by the clergy to assist the souls from Purgatory to Heaven: 1 for the celebrant, one for the departed, and one to the pope. While the Feast of All Saints is a day to remember the glories of Heaven and those there, the Feast of All Souls reminds us of our duties to reside lives on the holy path and that there’ll be purification of the souls of these destined for Heaven.
The Feast of All Souls owes its start to century monks who made a decision to offer you the bulk on the day following Pentecost for their deceased members. However, the choice of the date (November 2) for All Soul’s Day is attributed to St. Odilo, the fifth abbot of Cluny (city of France renowned for the Abby), because he wanted to follow the example of Cluny in offering special prayers and singing the Office of the Dead on the day after the feast of All Saints.
The current view of death occurs in part from Pre-Hispanic times. The Aztecs played an essential function in the development of the tradition. Throughout their own history, this festival emerged as among many intricacies and with a varied interpretation for this. According to the Egyptian beliefs, following a person’s death his soul would pass through nine phases before they reached Mictlan – the place of the dead person. The Aztecs also thought that a person’s fate was founded at dawn and that the soul of the individual depended on the kind of death in place of the type of lifestyle they lead. The sort of a person’s death would also decide what area they’d go to. Once they came to their particular region, a individual’s soul would await lie or transformation, awaiting another fate.
The Spanish Conquest of 1521 caused an amalgamation of the Catholic attitudes and native beliefs. The theological underpinning of this feast of All Souls is the acknowledgment of human frailty. Since few people attain perfection in this life but, rather, visit the tomb still scarred with traces of sinfulness, some period of purification looks necessary in front of a soul stems face-to-face with God.
It started as a neighborhood feat but soon spread throughout the Catholic Church during the next century.
The main traditions of All Souls’ Day are all associated with the idea of purgatory. Bells are tolled to comfort those being cleansed and candles are lit to guide bad souls languishing from the shadow. In many nations, cakes have been distributed among children. Singing and prayer meets are also organized.
The observance is significantly different in Mexico, in which the day is usually depicted as a day of celebration instead of mourning.
All Souls’ Day Wishes, Message, and Quotes
Death is just the last and long sleep. We hope that it will be a dreamy gateway to heaven for everybody!
On this All Soul’s Day, I pray that all my departed loved ones have been blessed with God’s mercy in heaven and can hear my good thoughts about them.
Footsteps will have vanished from the earth after someone dies but his goodwill will always be there. Spread this good thought on this occasion of All Soul’s Day!
Happy All Soul’s Day to everybody. The lost ones are not here anymore to spread warmth, but they are always alive in our memories.
Wishing a very happy All Soul’s Day and hope the journey to death and after death would be a peaceful experience for us all.
This is the day when we can send our special prayers for those who are not with us anymore. May you all rest in peace on the other side.
“He died that day because his body had served its purpose. His soul had done what it came to do, learned what it came to learn, and then was free to leave.” – Garth Stein
“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.” – Terry Pratchett
“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in a manner so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.” – Native American Proverb
“Life itself is but the shadow of death, and souls departed but the shadows of the living.” – Thomas Browne
“He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry