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.
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Referenceswww.catholic.org: All Souls Day