Why Christians Celebrate All Souls Day

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All Saints’ Day dependably falls on November 2 – this year that is a Thursday.  The day is Christian celebrations that honor all souls of Christians who have died. Viewing Christians usually remember their deceased relatives on this day.

“Believers remember and pray for the souls of people who are in Purgatory – the place in which those who have died atone for their sins before being granted the vision of God in Heaven”.

“The thought behind this is that when a soul leaves the body, it is not entirely cleansed from minor sins”.

But, through the power of prayer, the faithful on earth can help out these souls gain the souls the heavenly vision they look for.

While praying for the dead is an ancient Christian tradition, it was Odilo, Abbot of Cluny, from France, who, in 998AD, designated a specific day for praying for those in purgatory.

This ongoing as a feast in his monasteries and steadily increase towards the end of the 10th century AD.

What is Allhallowtide?

Halloween is short for All Hallow’s Eve. It is the vigil of All Saints (All Hallows) Day. All Saints Day is a holy day of obligation and thus a major feast on the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar.

Halloween (October 31st) is connected with All Saints Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd). These three days taken together are the “Days of the Dead,” a triduum of feasts also called Allhallowtide, Hallowtide, or Hallowmas (‘hallow’ means to honor as holy).

Halloween is, therefore, the first day of Allhallowtide, the time of year when the living (i.e. the Church Militant) honors all the dead in Christ: all the saints in heaven (i.e. the Church Triumphant) as well as all the holy souls detained in purgatory on their way to heaven (i.e. the Church Suffering). It is a beautiful celebration of the communion of saints. English, Irish, and French immigrants to America brought their variety of local Catholic customs with them: Dressing up for Halloween comes from the French; Jack-o-Lanterns come from the Irish (originally carved turnips); and the English begged from door to door for “Soul Cakes,” promising to pray for the departed loved ones of those who gave them these treats, the roots of trick-or-treating. These traditions converged in the American melting pot.

To avoid superstition and any negative influence of the occult, Halloween should not be honored or celebrated apart from Catholic truth (in the same way we should keep the birth of Christ at the center of Christmas, and the Resurrection of Christ at the center of Easter).

Halloween is a day to reflect on Christ’s triumph over sin, death, and Satan; to meditate on our own mortality and duties to God; to shun sin and the devil; to give honor to the saints in heaven; and to pray for the souls of the faithful departed in purgatory.