Tomorrow is All Saints Day in Poland, a day when people in Poland visit graves of their loved ones and friends who have already sadly passed away, they reminisce about them, pray for them and light candles in their intention showing respect and honour . You can light a candle on someone’s grave or leave it flaming together with thousands of other candles left in intention of the unknown, or people who’s graves couldn’t be found (usually near the Chapel). This all together creates an outstanding view of the cemetery in the evening or at night….
All Saints Day is followed by All Souls’ Day, a day meant for reminiscing the dead.
In the meantime, tonight…..some other cultures concentrate on Halloween, on getting dressed up, trick-or-treating around houses and decorating everything around with scary props and carved pumpkins…the so called Jack’o Lanterns.
[The photos above were taken by my very own and private big brother (thank you 🙂 ) during Halloween organized by Jewish Primary School in Wrocław http://szalomalejchem.pl/ – lovely people and atmosphere by the way! ]
Now to the point.
What both holidays are all about, what is their historical background and what their symbols are can be easily found around in the internet but why do Polish people so often get offended by the idea of children trick-or-treating or young people attending halloween parties? Why don’t they celebrate Halloween in the first place?
The answer is quite easy..
Poland is a catholic country while halloween relates to spiritual-magic-satanistic cults of celtic druids. Occultism and satanism obviously don’t get along with catholic church (: And although both holidays concern the dead, halloween has too many symbols that bother catholics. For example, Jack- o’ – lanterns were symbols of satan; blood, vampires, witches….
So if you’re a foreigner in Poland, no matter whether it’s Wrocław or Warsaw, be prepared to meet people who will not tolerate halloween, people who will be offended if you organize halloween and people who simply won’t even want to talk about it. Though most clubs and pubs in Poland throw halloween parties and the younger generation takes part in a lot of halloween events going on during this holiday, there is still a strong religious belief that halloween shouldn’t be celebrated in Poland.
Despite being catholic,I personally belong to the open-minded group of people who understand the phenomenon of mingling cultures. However, looking at all those sad and serious people at the cemetery today, I thought I owe you a few words of explanation as to why All Saints Holidays in Poland are so serious and why some people here might give you that „who do you think you are” look when you get dressed, carve multiple pumpkins and walk around with your kids asking for treats on the eve of All Saints Day.
Regardless, I wish you all a happy Halloween and a lovely All Saints Day, seasoned with a pinch of understanding and tolerance spreading both ways!