November 1st is a big holiday in Poland. Equivalent to Christmas in that most shops, stores, and places are closed. The streets were very quiet during the day when we went out for a walk. November 1st is All Saints Day, and November 2nd is All Souls Day. According to Catholic tradition the graves of dear loved ones should be visited on All Souls Day and the grave sites are left with flowers and candles burning bright. Since November 1st is a holiday in Poland, the Poles travel far to visit their family and loved ones burial sites to light a candle and leave flowers. The Candles will burn for several days. If they can, they will visit the graves again on November 2nd as well.
After dinner on the 1st we ventured out to an old cemetery in Krakow. It is one of the largestin the area and has several prominent Poles buried in it. The cemetery was beautifully lit with thousands of candles. At the church in the cemetery a musical program was held and you could hear the monks singing over the speakers as you walked through the glowing grounds. Some grave sites only had a few candles and flowers and others held dozens. The prominent people buried there had hundreds of candles surrounding their gravestones or monuments built for them. It was beautiful to see and we are grateful we were able to experience this part of the Polish and Catholic culture. How grateful I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ that teaches us about the resurrection and eternal life. I am grateful to know that through the gospel we can live with God and our loved ones again someday.
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