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All Souls Day

The idea to set aside a day to pay respects and honour the deceased was first presented in the 10th century by the Abbot of Cluny, Saint Odilo.

All Souls Day falls on the 2nd of November, right after All Saints Day. This day is observed by Christians and Roman Catholics who pray for the souls of the dead. It is known by different names in different countries such as “The Day of the Dead” in Mexico and “Feast for All Souls” or “Defuncts’ Day” in counties like Hungary, France and Italy.

In Mexico, as a way to honour this day, many parties are held with a variety of Mexican dishes and drinks. Alters which are decorated with candles, flowers and candy skulls are set up in homes to honour deceased relatives. In the USA, this day is mainly a day of prayer during which many Christians visit the graves of their dead relatives. In addition to visiting graves, requiem masses (masses held for the souls of the dead) are held where the priests wear vestments (robe or ceremonial clothing) of mainly black, other colours such as purple or white are also worn.

In Hungary, all work is forbidden as it is seen as disrespectful towards the dead and the work that is done is said to be cursed. Whilst in the Philippines, the raindrops that fall on this day are believed to be the tears of the dead.

One interesting fact about this day is that in Mexican Culture, the people believe that the dead are still members of the community and are alive in memory and spirit as they temporarily return to the earth on this day.

Fun fact: the 2017 movie Coco was based on All Souls Day.

- Veroni Perera