All Saints’ Day is a festival which has been celebrated in the Catholic world for many centuries and is still a strong tradition in Poland. It is also a national holiday which gives people the chance to travel and visit the graves of loved ones. The tradition goes that candles are lit on the graves which burn for many hours and help departed souls find their way through the darkness. The holiday is also sometimes known as the Day of the Dead.
We always take the boys to our local cemetary to light a few candles. Although we have no family members buried close by, we usually try to find a grave where there are no candles and let the boys light one each.
As darkness falls, the candles create a carpet of light across the cemetary. We do not have this tradition in the UK and it seems with our lives constantly hectic, it provides the opportunity to spend some time thinking about those family members at rest. As we were walking around, I tried to remember the last time I visited my Gran’s grave. The opportunity doesn’t arise very often now that I’m based in Poland, but she died in 2005, 2 months before Alex was born. She spent a lot of time with us when we were growing up, right through to when I was at University. One of my fondest memories is visiting her for lunch one day between my lectures and her cooking good old fashioned steak and onions with mash for us both. Still one of the best cooked steaks I’ve ever eaten! Today would have been a good day to visit her grave and spend a few quiet moments remembering times like this.