All Souls’ Day, Kolkata (Calcutta)
All Souls’ Day is a day when Christians remember their friends & relatives, who have passed away. This comes from an ancient belief that the souls of the dead will return, on this particular day, to have a meal with their family & friends. Candles are lit to guide the souls to their home for the meal.
Although different churches celebrate All Souls’ Day on different dates but it is predominantly celebrated on the 2nd of November. In Kolkata (Calcutta) the Christian community celebrates the day in the active cemeteries of the cities. The largest gathering happens in the Lower Circular Cemetery and the Bhawanipur Cemetery.
The rituals begins late in the afternoon and continues late into the night, as family members pray next to the graves of their beloved. The graves are beautifully decorated with flowers, candles and incense sticks. As night descends the glow of the candles creates a mystic and ghostly feeling as the family members go on with their silent prayers.
The following photos are shot at the Bhawanipur Cemetery (2008 and 2009) and at the Lower Circular Cemetery (2010). For more photos of All Souls’ Day, Kolkata (Calcutta) log on to my photo gallery.
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