Dzień Zaduszny

On the occasion of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, most Poles visit the graves of loved ones. They leave flowers, candles, lamps there, thanks to which the cemeteries are filled with light and resemble open-air temples. About the love of the Poles for their father’s coffins.

Many of you most likely know the Orthodox holiday well, during which believers massively visit the graves of their loved ones. All Orthodox peoples have a similar holiday and not only. We, in Armenia, also have a similar event, but it is not celebrated on such a grand scale, we just bring flowers and burn incense. As a rule, such “ceremonies” take place several times a year and are called SPKHECH (arm. “սփխեչ”). Why do we burn incense? There is a belief that incense drives away evil spirits, it is also burned in churches and temples, and even the believers burn it at home. On the occasion of this most ancient Slavic holiday, rooted in pagan times, people massively visit cemeteries after Easter, clean the graves, bring flowers, and even arrange small memorial feasts there. In Poland, essentially similar holidays – All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day – are celebrated on November 1 and 2. On the occasion of the first holiday in the country, a day off. It is not customary for Poles to bring food to cemeteries and commemorate the departed with alcohol right at the grave. On All Saints’ Day, their families go to temples, cemeteries, light lamps, pray for the souls of relatives and friends, and sometimes even go on a pilgrimage.

Dzień Zaduszny, Wola 2022

Photographers and other lovers of impressions come to Poland for this. Everyone is well aware of wine, sports, medical or business tourism. In Poland, thanks to the feast of All Saints, a new type of travel is actively developing – cemetery tourism (turystyka cmentarna). This phrase cuts the ear, but it reflects what is happening in Poland in late October and early November. Millions of Poles buy candles and visit the graves of not only relatives and friends, but also famous people, cultural, public or political figures. Many travel to other cities to see their gravestones and crypts. Sociological surveys show that about 95% of Poles visit grave sites these days. It is worth seeing Polish cemeteries these days. After dark, they look unforgettable. Silence, tranquility, the light of thousands of lamps – a magical atmosphere that creates the feeling that you are in some open-air temple or on a film set.

___Yulia

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