Polish Traditions on All Saints Day

by powazny

The 1st on November marks a very important date in the Catholic calendar: it’s the All Saints Day. But while countries like USA, UK, Australia or New Zealand are in the middle of the Halloween madness, Poland becomes a sea of candle lights and flowers.

Unlike in other catholic countries, the 1st of November takes a very spiritual, deeply religious meaning in Poland. This is the day of the dead, when everybody should pay their tributes to the departed. If you ever happen to visit Poland during mid-autumn, it is worth taking a look at some Polish traditions on All Saints Day:

A National Holiday

A very important thing you should remember about All Saints Day in Poland is that it is a national holiday, so most banks, in institutions and companies will be closed. The second day of November is known as All Souls Day, so the two holidays taken together become a mini-vacation. This ensures that people get enough time to travel back to their native towns or villages and visit the tombs of their deceased relatives.

Candles, Flowers and Prayers

by mayanais

A regular All Saints Day in Poland starts with people getting up early in the morning, putting on nice clothes and going to the church. After the service is over, people go to the cemetery where they look after the graves and decorate them with flowers (usually chrysanthemums). People pray for the dead and lit candles in their memory. This is the most important moment of the day, which is why every catholic cemetery in Poland becomes a sea of flowers and light in the night after All Saints Day. It is a sad moment but also a very beautiful one – the sea of candle lights symbolizing the souls of the departed is truly sublime.

 Help the Less Fortunate

Another important polish tradition connected with All Saints Day is that of cooking a special meal and serving it to the poor. Many families decide to commemorate their members who have passed away by inviting people in for dinner (these can be poor people from their community but also neighbors and friends). Some might choose to prepare some special cookies or snacks and just give it around. This meal has a very important spiritual value: the act of kindness is supposed to help the soul of the dead and bring them closer to redemption.

 

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