Monday, 8 November 2010

All Saints Day, Poland

So this was pretty much the reason why I go to Poland at the end of October / start of November, to indulge in the Catholic tradition of 'All Saints Day'. The day itself is a national holiday in honour of those who have achieved the beatific vision of heaven. What this transpires as is the whole township dressing in their finest clothes and visiting the graves of loved ones departed. It is a somewhat bizarre experience and seems to double as a social event. Personally, I find Catholicism, like the other monotheistic religions, most curious in their morbid preoccupation of death. While certainly not a Catholic myself, it is still a tradition with which I have been brought up with and remains a part of my heritage, despite the incredulity through which I view it all.

As you can see, the amount of effort and money some people spend on elaborate ways to remember their loved ones is something rather bizarre to behold when you compare it with other countries, particularly Britain. That big 'crypt' on the right houses a small portion of my family for example. Note the tomb on the left however. The gypsies that reside in Poland in particular have some rather garish ideas on how to commemorate the dead...