The origin, present day celebration of All Souls Day

Graves are decorated with candles and colors in celebration of All Souls Day.

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Graves are decorated with candles and colors in celebration of All Souls Day.

Calla Reynolds, Copy Editor

All Souls Day has been celebrated by Roman Catholics since the early 10th century. It is observed on Nov. 2, the date, which was set by priest St. Odilo of Cluny, falling purposefully after All Saints Day.

Baptism, which was most commonly done through affusion, was the foundation for faithful christianity. Catholic adherents who got baptized and remained loyal to their religion were commemorated after departion, or death. Roman priests commemorated the dead by wearing vestments of color, all colors representing a deeper meaning. Black symbolizes mourning,  white for resurrection, and violet for penance. 

More details on how All Souls Day was originally acknowledged is not known, but due to multiple European cultures adopting and continuing to celebrate this holiday, it can be inferred that it was widespread amongst Catholic Europeans. The reason behind this is the popularity and power within Catholic churches after the fall of the Roman Empire. Since this was a dark period, civilians depended on churches for safety and general stability. 

Presently, American Christians acknowledge All Souls Day by visiting cemeteries where loved ones rest and planting presents – flowers, candles, crosses, and sometimes even preparing the deceased individual’s favored meal – at their graves. Catholic churches often dedicate a day of prayer in remembrance of the faithful departed.