All Souls' Day 2021: Find out the history, significance and how it is observed across the world

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All Souls Day is observed every year on 2 November to honour the dead. The day is primarily celebrated in the Catholic Church, but it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and a few other denominations of Christianity. The Anglican church is the largest protestant church to celebrate the holy day. Most protestant denominations do not recognise the holiday and disagree with the theology behind it.

Also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and the Day of the Dead, on this day, people remember their deceased loved ones. The occasion is observed to completely dedicate one day to pray for and remember the souls who are in Purgatory (a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls who are compensating their sins before going to heaven, according to Christian theology).

History

According to Christian belief and tradition, All Souls’ Day was propagated by French monks who selected a specific day in the year 998 AD for remembering the dead (loved ones).

When All Souls’ Day initially was initially celebrated, it started off as a local tradition, but by the following century it spread throughout Catholic churches. As per the tradition, All Souls’ Day is associated with the notion of purgatory.

Significance

Reasoning behind this stems from the notion that when a soul leaves the body, it is not entirely cleansed from venial (minor) sins. However, through the power of prayer and self-denial, the faithful left on earth may be able to help these souls gain the Beatific Vision they seek, bringing the soul eternal sublime happiness.

How is the day observed across the world

Practitioners on this day attend service and mass in their respective churches along with music that is composed especially for the occasion. After the mass, people visit the graves of the loved ones and offer flowers, garlands and candles. Children who come for prayer, receive soul cakes (a buttery biscuit/cookie/cake).

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All Souls' Day 2021: Find out the history, significance and how it is observed across the world
All Souls' Day 2021: Find out the history, significance and how it is observed across the world
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