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is a Polish
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...
tradition of lighting candles (znicze
) and visiting the graves of the relatives on All Souls Day
All Souls' Day commemorates the faithful departed. In Western Christianity, this day is observed principally in the Catholic Church, although some churches of Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches also celebrate it. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes several All Souls' Days during the...
. Its origins can be traced to the times of Slavic mythology
Slavic mythology is the mythological aspect of the polytheistic religion that was practised by the Slavs before Christianisation.The religion possesses many common traits with other religions descended from the Proto-Indo-European religion....
The tradition of lighting candles comes from ancient slavic Dziady
Dziady was an ancient Slavic feast to commemorate the dead. Literally, the word is translated as "Grandfathers". It was held twice every year . During the feast the ancient Slavs organized libations and ritual meals...
feast and originally would take place on All Souls' Day. However, due to later common misunderstandings, it is performed nowadays mainly on All Saints Day, but, in that case is not called Zaduszki - the word Zaduszki
originates from dzień zaduszny
which can be translated as the day of the prayer for souls
, and thus is more closely related to All Souls' Day.
The first day of November is a holiday in Poland. As many people make journeys to visit the places of burial of their relatives, heavy traffic develops and accident statistics peak. Most commercial activity also ceases.
Streets are filled with silent and solemn crowds, and cemeteries glow with thousands of candles, presenting a unique and picturesque scene.