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All Souls' Day in Australia

Some churches in Australia, including the Catholic Church, annually observe All Souls’ Day on November 2. All Souls’ Day is the day after All Saints’ Day.

Is All Souls' Day a Public Holiday?

Even though All Souls' Day falls on Saturday, November 2, 2019, it is a working day. Most businesses follow regular opening hours in Australia.

Choir in the Cathedral

Some churches in Australia have a service or mass featuring special choral music and hymns on All Souls' Day.

©iStockphoto.com/Rick Hyman

What Do People Do?

All Souls’ Day, also known as the Feast of All Souls, follows All Saints’ Day (November 1).  Both days mark a period for some churches, including the Catholic Church, to remember the saints in Christian history and to pray for people. Some Christian schools teach their students about All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day around this time of the year.

All Souls’ Day is traditionally a time for the Christian community to remember deceased family members and friends. Some churches have special services on or around All Souls Day. These services feature hymns, music and prayers that center on the day’s theme. Some churches invite the congregation to write the names of deceased friends or family members in a special book that would be placed on the altar at each mass or service during November.

Public Life

All Souls’ Day is not a nationwide public holiday in Australia.

Background

All Souls’ Day was first instituted at the monastery in Cluny in 993 CE and quickly spread throughout the Christian world. People held festivals for the dead long before Christianity. It was Saint Odilo, the abbot of Cluny in France, who in the 10th century, proposed that the day after All Saints’ Day be set aside to honor the departed, particularly those whose souls were still in purgatory. Various Christian churches in Australia, including the Catholic, Uniting, Anglican churches, commemorate All Souls’ Day on or around November 2 each year.

Symbols

Some churches and Christian schools in Australia are named after All Souls’ Day. The color violet, which symbolizes penitence, humility and longing, as well as black, which symbolizes sadness and morning, may be worn on All Souls’ Day in some churches.

About All Souls' Day in other countries

Read more about All Souls' Day.

All Souls' Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015MonNov 2All Souls' DayChristian
2016WedNov 2All Souls' DayChristian
2017ThuNov 2All Souls' DayChristian
2018FriNov 2All Souls' DayChristian
2019SatNov 2All Souls' DayChristian
2020MonNov 2All Souls' DayChristian
2021TueNov 2All Souls' DayChristian
2022WedNov 2All Souls' DayChristian
2023ThuNov 2All Souls' DayChristian
2024SatNov 2All Souls' DayChristian
2025SunNov 2All Souls' DayChristian

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