All Saints’ Day in Poland

In Poland we do not have a tradition of celebrating Halloween (and if we do it is just a fancy new holiday adapted from the West). What most of us do in the beginning of November is focus on a solemnity Catholic holiday called All Saints’ Day.

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It takes place on 1st November and celebrates all known and unknown Saints. The liturgical celebration begins at Vespers on the evening of 31 October. It is also known as the Day of the Dead. In Poland the tradition is to light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives.

All Saints’ Day is an official public holiday, so remember that schools, banks and government offices as well as shops and private businesses might be closed. There is officialy trade prohibition during every public holiday in Poland. If you intend to travel using public transport checking transit authorities on any changes to time schedules is recommended.

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When it comes to candles that are laid on graves it is believed that they help the departed souls find their way through the darkness. They are especially made so they can burn for many hours. Many Poles travel long distances to visit family graves.

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