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All Souls' Day in United Kingdom

Some churches in the United Kingdom annually observe All Souls’ Day on November 2. All Souls’ Day is the day after All Saints’ Day.

Worship
Some churches have special All Souls' Day services in the United Kingdom.
Some churches have special All Souls' Day services in the United Kingdom.
©iStockphoto.com/Sean Locke

What Do People Do?

Some churches, including the Catholic Church, hold special services with music and prayers focused on All Souls’ Day on or around November 2 each year. It is a time for some Christians, including those who attend these special All Souls’ Day services, to remember and pray for deceased family members and friends. Some people visit the graves of dead family or friends on All Souls’ Day. All Souls’ Day is closely associated with All Saints’ Day (November 1), as both are known collectively as Hallowtide.

Public Life

All Souls’ Day is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom.

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.

It was historically customary for poor Christians to offer prayers for the dead in return for money or food (soul cakes) from their wealthier neighbors. During the 19th and 20th centuries children would go “souling” in a similar fashion to carol singing, in which they would ask for alms or soul cakes. There was also a superstition that All Souls' night was a time for the dead revisited their homes. Therefore some people would leave lit candles outside their homes to help to guide the deceased souls. Meals and wine were also left as refreshments.

Symbols

A soul cake is like a hot cross bun but without the currants or the cross on top.

About All Souls' Day in other countries

Read more about All Souls' Day.

All Souls' Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
TueNov 22010All Souls' DayChristian 
WedNov 22011All Souls' DayChristian 
FriNov 22012All Souls' DayChristian 
SatNov 22013All Souls' DayChristian 
SunNov 22014All Souls' DayChristian 
MonNov 22015All Souls' DayChristian 
WedNov 22016All Souls' DayChristian 
ThuNov 22017All Souls' DayChristian 
FriNov 22018All Souls' DayChristian 
SatNov 22019All Souls' DayChristian 
MonNov 22020All Souls' DayChristian 

Quick Facts

All Souls’ Day is observed among some Christian communities in the United Kingdom on November 2 each year.

All Souls' Day 2017

Thursday, November 2, 2017

All Souls' Day 2018

Friday, November 2, 2018

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Name in other languages

NameLanguage
All Souls' DayEnglish
Alle sjelers dagNorwegian

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in November 2017 in United Kingdom

United Nation Holiday on November 2, 2017

Fun Holidays on November 2, 2017

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