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All Souls’ Day

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All Souls’ Day (November 2) – known as Día de los Fieles Defuntos (Day of the Faithful Departed), Día de Ánimas (Day of the Souls), and Día de Los Finados or Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Spanish-speaking Latin America and Dia dos Fiéis Defuntos (Day of the Faithful Departed) or Dia de Finados (Day of the Dead) in Brazil – is an originally Roman Catholic holiday designated for commemoration of the dead. Recognized throughout Latin America, observation of the day can range from festive (seen in Mexico’s famous celebrations) to somber and subdued (such as in Brazil).

The choice of November 2, the day after All Saints’ Day, is commonly attributed to St. Odilo of Cluny, who likely instituted the tradition sometime between 1024 and 1033. Cluny was sufficiently prestigious that the tradition quickly spread throughout France, Germany, England, and Italy “All Souls’ Day” in New Catholic Encylopedia (Schmitt 1998). While All Souls’ Day likely preceded the widespread...


  • Catholicism
  • Souls
  • Death
  • Popular religion
  • Popular Catholicism
  • Syncretism
  • Purgatory

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Correspondence to Michael Amoruso .

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© 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

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Amoruso, M. (2016). All Souls’ Day. In: Gooren, H. (eds) Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions. Springer, Cham.

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