One of the reasons why Halloween will never be popular in Poland is because November 1st is All Saints’ Day.
It’s a national holiday which commemorates all of those who have passed away and usually entails visiting the graves of loved ones.
Some may think it’s a morbid tradition but it’s actually one of my favourites.
We usually get up very early to avoid the crowds leading up to the cemeteries (literally streets are blocked off there are so many people), light candles and put flowers on graves.
Often we meet other family members and it’s a good way to catch up.
We then go home for a nice cup of tea/coffee and a bowl of delicious bigos (sauerkraut with wild mushrooms and different kinds of meat), and visit my dad’s hometown in the suburbs of Warsaw.
We usually go back to the cemetery after dark and it’s a breath-taking experience, because as far as the eye can see there’s a sea of lit candles.
All Saint’s Day is an opportunity to dust off family anecdotes and memories and spare a though for those who are no longer with us.
This year I’ll be thinking about all my friends who have lost a parent and are still grieving, like my BFF Max and my RA friend Servetus.
Maybe we should all take the opportunity this day offers to light a candle at home for all of those who are no longer with us.