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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

All-Souls Day

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a festival held by Roman Catholics on the day after All-saints' Day, for special prayer in behalf of the souls of all the faithful dead. It was first introduced in 998, by Odilon, abbot of Clugni, who enjoined it on his own order. It was soon after adopted by neighboring churches. It is the day on which, in the Romish Church, extraordinary masses are repeated for the relief of souls said to be in purgatory. Formerly, on this day, persons dressed in black perambulated the towns and cities, each provided with a bell of dismal tone, which was rung in public places, by way of, exhortation to the people to remember the souls in purgatory (Farrar, Eccl. Dictionary, s.v.). In some parts of the west of England it is still "the custom for the village children to go round to all their neighbors souling, as they call it collecting small contributions, and singing the following verses, taken down from two of the children themselves:

Soul! soul! for a soul-cake;

Pray, good mistress, for a soul-cake,

One for Peter, two for Paul,

Three for Them who made us all.


Soul! soul! for an apple or two;

If youve got no apples, pears will do,

Up with your kettle, and down with your pan;

Give me a good big one, and Ill be gone.

The soul-cake referred to in the verses is a sort of bun which, until lately, it was an almost general custom for people to make, and to give to one another on the 2d of November." Notes and Queries, 1st ser. vol. 4.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'All-Souls Day'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/a/all-souls-day.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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