November 02, 2011


In Polish, "znicze" (ZNEE-cheh) means candles. And each year on the 1st and 2nd of November, candles have a special place in the traditions ("tradycje") of Poland. These two days are, respectively, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.

During these two days, a family ("rodzina") in Poland visits the graves of loved ones and participates in the ancient practice of Zaduszki — honoring the dead with candles and flowers ("kwiaty"). The candles and candle holders are specially designed to burn ("palić") outdoors for a long time. You can see candles and Zaduszki evenings in photographs here as well as in a video here.

This is a national event with both a private ("prywatny") and a public ("publiczny") side. Tens of millions of people honor the memory of family members who have departed, and they also visit the graves of national heroes ("bohaterów") — statesmen, soldiers, writers, academics and others whose work helped to shape the Polish nation ("naród").