Monday, November 3, 2014

Thousands of flickering candles adorned the stone graves at Powązki Cemetery (Cmentarz Powązkowski) on Saturday night in Warsaw.

For the first time, we took part in the All Saints’ Day (Wszystkich Świętych in Polish) celebrations on November 1st. We joined thousands of Poles as they flocked to the local cemeteries to remember and honor their deceased family members and friends by leaving flowers and candles on their graves.

We visited Powązki Cemetery, since it’s a short walk from our apartment, with another couple and their two children. Before we entered, we bought several glass, lantern-like candles that we planned to place on bare graves so the deceased wouldn’t feel “lonely” as we told the kids. My husband also wanted to light a candle in honor of his great-aunt who recently died.
This historic cemetery looked absolutely beautiful! We wandered through row after row of decorated graves and tombstones, just taking in the scenery and witnessing this Polish tradition in person. I’ve never seen anything like this before except perhaps the Warsaw Uprising anniversary events I’ve partaken in since we’ve lived here.
I took many photos, but the daylight soon faded, which made it more difficult. However, the oncoming of dusk made the candles stand out more as we walked through Powązki.

Hope you enjoy my photos of our first All Saints’ Day in Poland!

Have you ever witnessed All Saints’ Day celebrations in your own country or while traveling?
My husband lit a candle on the grave of Violetta Villas, a Belgian-born Polish and international cabaret star, singer, actress, composer and songwriter, who died at age 73 in 2011. During her long career, she recorded almost 300 songs in 10 languages and starred in six films.
Another popular grave was of Gustaw Holoubek, a well-known Polish actor, director, member of the Polish Sejm and a senator in the Polish Parliament. He died in 2008 at the age of 85. Holoubek also survived being a prisoner of war during the Nazi German Occupation of Poland and went on to have a long, successful career in the arts and local politics.

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Heather | Ferreting out the Fun said...

Beautiful photos! Riga will be having candlelight services for the upcoming Latvian National Day and I hope mine turn out half as good!

BacktoBodrum said...

Candles and chrysanths, I bet the air smelt good.