All Souls' Day

All Souls' Day Quick Facts - IN

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2024 Date2 November 2024
2025 Date2 November 2025

All Souls' Day

All Souls' Day in
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All Souls' Day History

All Souls' Day is held annually to remember and pray for the souls of those who have departed from the world. The focus is on those who have died but may still be in purgatory, a state of purification, before they can enter heaven. This commemoration is observed by millions of Christians worldwide, including Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and other Protestant denominations. On this day, special masses are celebrated, and people visit the graves of their loved ones to offer prayers, candlelight, and flowers.

The origin of All Souls' Day can be traced back to the 10th century, when St. Odilo, the abbot of the Cluny monastery in France, designated a day for prayers and almsgiving on behalf of all the departed souls. Over time, the observance spread across Europe and was eventually adopted by the Church. In India, with a sizable Christian population comprising around 2.3% of the total, All Souls' Day carries significance among the various Christian communities, including Roman Catholics, Syrian Christians, and Protestants.

In India, All Souls' Day is observed with solemnity and reverence, particularly in states with substantial Christian populations such as Kerala, Goa, Meghalaya, and Mizoram. People attend mass and participate in special prayers held in churches. Family members visit the graves of their deceased relatives and offer flowers, light candles, and say prayers for the peace of their souls. November 2nd is the commonly observed date for All Souls' Day, most aligned with the Western Christian tradition. However, Eastern Orthodox Churches observe a similar commemoration across several days during the season of Lent and a few days after Pentecost.

Top facts about All Souls' Day

  • There are three major branches of Christianity: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant. Roman Catholic has approximately 1.2 billion members; Protestant has 800 million and Eastern Orthodox 300 million.
  • The custom of a special day to remember the faithfully departed on November 2 was first established by St. Odilo of Cluny at his abbey of Cluny in 998.
  • All Souls' Day is a public holiday in the Indian states of Goa, Daman, Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, where Christian communities have had a strong presence since the Portuguese colonization in the 16th century.
  • In the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, the Christian community has a tradition known as Blessing of the Tombs on All Souls’ Day, where special prayers are conducted, and graves are cleaned, decorated with flowers, and candles are lit.

All Souls' Day Top Events and Things to Do

  • Visit the cemetery where your loved ones are buried and light a candle. This is exactly what the holiday is meant to celebrate and it is also very common for people to do on All Souls’ Day.
  • Spread awareness on social media by using the hashtag #AllSoulsDay, #HonourTheDead and #HeavenAwaits.
  • Many people go to the cemetery and decorate the graves of their loved ones with flowers, candles, and seasonal decorations.
  • In certain regions, like Goa, people prepare and share traditional foods, believing that the souls return home to partake in the meals.

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