All Saints’ Day in Poland Posted by Anna on Nov 2, 2008 in Culture
Yesterday the entire Poland celebrated the holiday of All Saints’ Day (Wszystkich Świętych) and initially, I wasn’t going to write about it. I’ve always found this occasion to be totally and utterly depressing, regardless of how beautiful all those flickering candles may look. There is something about it that I just can’t wrap my mind around – definitely not my kind of religious celebration.
Today is the Catholic follow up to All Saints’ called All Souls’ Day (Zaduszki), which commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven.
So why am I writing about it? This morning a friend started to ask me questions about All Saints’ Day and I realized that to be perfectly honest, I knew very little about this holiday.
When I was a kid I always tried to come up with excuses to stay home and not participate – there was always a math test I needed to study for, or a history paper I had to write, which meant that I could sit in front of the TV with a bag of candy while others were scrubbing graves and listening to extremely boring sermons about damnation, repentance and eternal life. The candles bit was fun, but since I had a somewhat dangerous pyro streak, I was not allowed to play with them anyway.
Fortunately for you, this guy has a great gallery of Polish cemetery photos and a lovely description of the Powązki Cmentarz in Warsaw. Go take a look, it’s definitely worth it!
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