All Souls Day is a Roman Catholic holiday when the living remember their beloved deceased family and friends. (All Souls is not to be confused with All Saints’ Day—the Holy Day on November 1st when the Catholic Church honors its saints and martyrs).
During the Middle Ages, Catholicism came to England and Ireland. As it became more widespread, its traditions started to blend with the Pagan traditions of the Celtics, and in 1000 A.D., a new holiday was born. The Catholic church created All Souls’ Day, which adopted some of the Celtic traditions of Samhain—a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year. Celebrations also included masquerades and bonfire celebrations.
People of the Catholic faith around the world hold extraordinary beliefs and traditions about spirits on this day:
In the Mexican culture, All Souls’ Day is known as Día de Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead. It is believed that the dead are still members of the community, kept alive in memory and spirit, and during the Day of the Dead, they temporarily return to Earth.
According to Hungarian tradition, all work and housework are forbidden on All Souls’ Day. It is seen as disrespectful to the dead, and it is believed that any work done will be sabotaged by them.
According to superstition from the Philippines: When it rains on All Souls’ Day, the raindrops are tears of the dead.
Many cultures decorate with candlelight because they believe it warms the dead and helps souls find their way back to their graves at the end of All Souls’ Day.
According to the teachings of the Catholic church, Catholics can shorten the time a soul spends in purgatory (a place where souls are purified before entering heaven) by visiting a church and praying the Our Father and the Creed on All Souls’ Day.
With thanks to the Farmers' Almanac