A Night for All Souls is a free event about honouring the dead in October on the weekend before Halloween at Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery.
It’s one of Vancouver’s more serious and solemn Halloween events, but also interesting for people of all ages and backgrounds.
A Night for All Souls at Halloween
Vancouver’s Night for All Souls is actually the opening night of a festival featuring a week of events about death, memorials and paying respect to the dead.
The series of events starts on or around October 26th or 27th and ends on November 1st, which, according to many Christian denominations, is All Hallows’ Day, or All Saints Day, which is a time to honour long departed saints.
“Halloween” means “All Hallow’s Eve,” which is why it comes one day before November 1st (just like Christmas Eve comes before December 25th).
Halloween is also believed to originate from Celtic harvest festivals and to have pagan routes. All of this is evident at Vancouver’s Night for All Souls. If you attend the event you’re in for a most interesting cultural experience.
When and Where
A Night for All Souls took place in 2018 on Saturday, October 27th, from 6:00 until 10:00 pm. Activities happened at various locations around Mountain View Cemetery which is located at 5455 Fraser Street and bordered by Fraser, 41st Avenue, 31st Avenue and Prince Edward Street. It’s a pretty big cemetery!
The 2019 event will likely take place on Saturday, October 26th, but details are to be confirmed.
Last year tea and personal memorials also took place at the cemetery in the Celebration Hall every evening from 7:00 until 9:00 pm between Sunday, October 28th, and Thursday, November 1st. On some of these evenings there was live background music and on the last day, November 1st, there was a procession to various shrines within the cemetery. 2019 will be similar.
For details about all the various evening activities, click All Souls Events.
About A Night for All Souls
The main Night for All Souls event on the Saturday before Halloween features music, candles, tea, flowers, poetry and memorial shrines. According to the event’s website, it’s a “non-denominational sacred event, and an opportunity for people to share their own customs and experiences.”
The event is sponsored by the City of Vancouver, it’s free to attend and all are welcome.
At the event expect to see a fair number of people plus candles flickering in the darkness, illuminated shrines and musicians playing contemplative music. It’s not a huge event, but several hundred people do attend.
Curated by artists Paula Jardine and Marina Szijarto, the series of events developed out of the organizers’ work together with Public Dreams which is the same organization that puts on the Parade of Lost Souls which is also Halloween-related and takes place on the Saturday before October 31st (so at the exact same time).
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your Night for All Souls experience.
TIP #1: The Saturday evening is an interesting event and we recommend it. It’s not for everyone, but it’s suitable for folk of all ages.
TIP #2: A Night for All souls is on the same evening as the Parade of Lost Souls which is also artistic and with a slightly Celtic flavour. The former is more solemn and serious. The latter attracts a primarily young-adult crowd, people in costumes and is more about fun and reveling in the Halloween season.
TIP #3: Don’t forget to take your umbrella if it looks like rain (which it usually does in Vancouver in late October). Boots or other waterproof footwear might be a good idea too if there’s a chance of puddles on the pathways.
TIP #4: Craft materials are available at the Saturday event. You may want to take a glass jar and copies of personal photos though if wanting to make your own memorial.
TIP #5: The event is free, but donations are appreciated (so take some coins or small bills with you).
For further details about the event see the Night for All Souls website.
For information about other Halloween-related activities check out any of the following:
- Halloween Weekend in Vancouver
- Vancouver’s October Calendar
- Vancouver’s Best Places in Autumn
- Lower Mainland Halloween Events
- Halloween in Vancouver for Kids
- Halloween Activities for Adults
- Lower Mainland Haunted Houses
- Rainy Day Halloween Activities
- Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar