November in the Catholic tradition is a month of remembrance of the dead. To begin this, All Saints’ Day is celebrated on the 1st, and All Souls’ Day on the 2nd. These are not nationally recognised holidays and are no longer holy days of obligation in Australia, but the Church continues to encourage prayers of the faithful for the departed during this time.
All Saints’ Day
All Saints’ Day, November 1st, is a day to commemorate all saints in heaven. This dates back to the early Church where the faithful would gather together to acknowledge the anniversary of a martyr’s death. Around the 4th century, there was such a large number of martyrs that they could not assign an individual day to each one, so All Saints’ Day was established as a common feast day for all saints.
This day is also known as All Hallows and the Solemnity of All Saints.
All Souls’ Day
All Souls’ Day, November 2nd, is a day of prayer and remembrance for the souls of the departed. The faithful remember, pray, and celebrate Mass for the souls who are not entirely cleansed from venial sins and are in the state of purgatory. Through this, it is believed that the living faithful can assist the departed faithful to be granted the Beatific Vision of God in heaven.
This day is also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed.
Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven, and the ‘church militant’ who are the living. – Pope Francis