Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hallowmas

Yesterday was All Saints Day (or All Hallows Day/Hallowmas.  Yes, Hallowe'en gets its name from All Hallows Eve, which is the day before All Hallows Day.  You are that much smarter.)  In many countries, including Poland, it's a large festive holiday.  Everyone visits the cemeteries to place flowers and candles upon their loved ones' graves.
In Poland, in particular, it's one of the more major holidays I've witnessed.  Special bus lines run often, ferrying the enormous crowds to the cemeteries on the outskirts of the cities.  The cemeteries themselves begin to look like bazaars, with candle sellers, florists, vendors selling special candies called Skórka Panska (Lordly Skin/Leather.  It's like a hard taffy.) and baked goods (tiny bagels!), plus others selling gloves, scarves, socks, hats, earrings, and mittens.  Young and old flood in amongst the dead, searching for the graves.  Some wander about, trying to discern which headstone is the right one.  When they get their, they clear away the fallen leaves, dead flowers, and extinguished candles and replace them with new ones.  Sometimes, they come and discover that another family member has come and already placed candles and flowers.  The grave sites turn into mini gardens and shrines.  Most say a small prayer, and leave, perhaps to find the next grave.

Scouts selling candles.

The crowd on the way to a cemetery.

Florists doing brisk business.


A virtual market and bazaar at the cemetery gates.


A shrine to those who perished under communism.

The crowd inside the cemetery.

The graves decorated with candles and flowers.

Supposedly, gypsies come to the cemeteries and hold mini parties atop their graves.  After wandering around a little, keeping an eye out for drinking and feasting gypsies, I rationalized that it was too early in the morning for even gypsies to take to the bottle.

After a visit to the ancestors' graves, the families usually return home for an afternoon dinner.

18 comments:

gMusic said...

Very cool photos, hope you share more.

BizzyG said...

This looks so damn cool. I would love to visit Warsaw someday.

Josh said...

I wish I could visit Warsaw. Looks really cool plus my ancestors were from there.

T.dot said...

very interesting, nice pics

Timmy's blog said...

Gypsies do what on the graves exactly o.0?

Dying Dignity said...

It looks pretty cold :P people look like they are much nicer there than in most cities etc...

Apps Master said...

nice pics dude

Tsipise said...

I'm in Belgium, just around the corner :) But what a big difference between Poland and here... Have a nice stay bro.

rancour said...

wow great pics, im jealous as hell, im stuck in nowhere usa

Campino said...

warsaw looks really nice. I was never there though Im living very close to it(Germany)

klingeris said...

i want to go to Warsaw NOW!

One.Pissed.Off.Guy said...

The only good part of halloween is the partys aha

Steve said...

"too early in the morning for even gypsies to take to the bottle"? I've cut and pasted it, so I know I haven't misread it, but I find it difficult to equate this to Poland.

Fred Rickerson said...

Awesome pics dude, can't wait to see more

El Trombone said...

Really beautiful places...

SimonC said...

interesting read

Sarah said...

Hey,
I am moving to Warsaw on Monday from Canada. I have been briefly perusing your blog and am getting more and more excited about the move! Where is this farmers market that you go to? Do you have an email address where I could contact you if I need recommendations or advice? I appreciate your help!

Sarah

phoebert said...

Thats really cool. I went to a few graveyards in Germany, but never in Poland. Thanks for the post.