A cemetary, under fall trees, with glowing candles on top of headstones

All Souls Day (Nov. 2) is a Roman Catholic day of remembrance for friends and loved ones who have passed away. It developed alongside All Saints Day (or the Feast of All Saints), celebrated on Nov. 1st.

The traditions of the Feast of All Souls began independently of the Feast of All Saints. The Feast of All Souls owes its beginning to seventh century monks who decided to offer the mass on the day after Pentecost for their deceased community members. In the late tenth century, the Benedictine monastery in Cluny chose to move their mass for their dead to November 2, the day after the Feast of all Saints. This custom spread and in the thirteenth century, Rome put the feast on the calendar of the entire Church. The date remained November 2 so that all in the Communion of the Saints might be celebrated together.

In the Americas, particularly Mesoamerica, European colonization merged with pre-existing indigenous traditions to form a de los muertos.

Unitarian Universalist Perspectives

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  • Gather we now into this space, this time when the Wheel turns and the Veil shatters. Gather we now to remember, to grieve, to prophesy, to complete our harvests before the Long Dark comes. Gather we now to tell the Old Stories and sing the Old Songs, to be as we have always been —the Voice of our...
    Invocation | By Andrea Hawkins-Kamper | October 26, 2016 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: 3rd Principle (Acceptance & Spiritual Growth), 7th Principle (Interconnected Web), All Souls Day, Autumnal Equinox, Community, Connections, Día de los Muertos, Earth-Centered, Generations, Halloween, Interdependence, Paganism, Reverence, Sacred, Samhain, Spirituality, Tradition, Unitarian Universalism
  • They once dwelled among us, the people of memory.
    Responsive Reading | By Heather K Janules | October 24, 2016 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: 7th Principle (Interconnected Web), All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Death, Día de los Muertos, Family, Generations, Gratitude, Memorial Services, Samhain
  • Leader: [if applicable: In addition to our own beloved dead], we take the time to acknowledge all those already lost as the world feels the effects of global warming and climate change. Thousands of people, as well as animals and plants, die every year from the effects of global climate change....
    Litany | By Erica Baron | October 19, 2016 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: 7th Principle (Interconnected Web), All Souls Day, Anti-Oppression, Brokenness, Climate Justice, Despair, Earth, Earth Day, Earth-Centered, Humanism, Nature, Pain, Remembrance Day, Responsibility, Trauma
  • For those we miss. For things long gone. For those who or what we last held in our arms, in our hands and in our hearts — we pray. We pray for memories to stay strong Memories of words and warmth, of actions and stillness. We pray for Love shared and lived, Love to remain with us and with them,...
    Prayer | By Patricia Shelden | April 13, 2016 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: All Souls Day, Animal Memorial, Brokenness, Death, Ending, Grief, Healing, Letting Go, Memorial Day, Memorial Services, Remembrance Day
  • Come in, from the crisp morning air outside, come in, wearing the autumn sunlight on your face, come, carrying the turning of the seasons in your heart. Whatever and however the greatness of life is speaking to you now, you are welcome here in our circle of friends.
    Opening | By Sarah Gettie McNeill | November 11, 2015 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Autumnal Equinox, Change, Earth, Earth-Centered, Halloween, Homecoming / Ingathering, Inclusion, Nature
  • We light this flame As our fervent plea to brighten the dark corners of our hearts; We hold this flame For in it is the promise of warmth for souls grown cold in loss and despair; We kindle this light That we might continue to find comfort in its warmth; strength in its light; holiness in its...
    Chalice Lighting | By S. William Feiss | November 10, 2015 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: 1st Principle (Worth & Dignity), 7th Principle (Interconnected Web), All Souls Day, Animal Memorial, Death, Día de los Muertos, Forgiveness, Healing, Love, Meaning, Memorial Services, Purpose, Sacred, Samhain, Sorrow, Strength, Truth
  • For all who die in war We lift up our hearts For all who live in suffering in the aftermath of violence We lift up our hearts For all who give their lives in smoke and flame We lift up our hearts For all who go on in honor of the dead We lift up our hearts For all who have served We lift up our...
    Prayer | By Amy Petrie Shaw | October 30, 2015 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: 6th Principle (World Community), 7th Principle (Interconnected Web), All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Brokenness, Buddhism, Christianity, Conflict, Direct Experience, Islam, Judaism, Memorial Day, Pain, Peace, Reconciliation, Religion, United Nations Day, Veterans Day, War, WorshipWeb
  • As we begin to settle to a deeper more inward place; to be fully present right now in this place made for head and heart together; we might begin to feel how our own bodies are not only flesh and blood — but skeleton bones as well. No matter how old we are, no matter how we move from place to...
    Meditation | By Katie Kandarian-Morris | October 26, 2015 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: All Souls Day, Awe, Body, Día de los Muertos, Direct Experience, Nature, Playfulness
  • In the ­struggles we choose for ourselves, in the ways we move forward in our lives and bring our world forward with us, It is right to remember the names of those who gave us strength in this choice of living. It is right to name the power of hard lives well-lived. We share a history with those...
    Affirmation | By Kathleen McTigue | April 26, 2015 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Día de los Muertos, Generations, History, Justice, Leadership, Memorial Services, Ordinations, Progress, Responsibility
  • Lighting a candle is somewhat like the beginning of life. If that is true, then perhaps extinguishing a candle is like the ending of life. But death may not be the end of us. We live on in the memories of friends and loved ones....
    Chalice Extinguishing | By Lee Huebert | January 21, 2015 | From WorshipWeb
    Tagged as: All Souls Day, Death, Día de los Muertos, Letting Go, Memorial Services, Mystery, Purpose, Remembrance Day, Unitarian Universalism, Wonder