November 1st in Poland

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With November 1st fast approaching, I think a few words are in order about this Polish holiday:

For some Poles, it is called ‘National Traffic Day’, an occasion when the country’s roads are clogged like an obese, pie-eating, thirty-five stone man’s arteries with cars going to and from cemeteries. For others, holier in persuasion and more numerous in number, it is simply Wszystkich Świętych, or All Souls’ Day in English, a time for families to get together and lay wreaths and candles on the gravestones of those members of the family who have passed away. If the weather is good – like it can be sometimes and like it is at the moment I’m writing this blog post – it can be a pleasant experience. However, if it is raining (or on the odd occasion as I have witnessed, snowing) and a cold wind is biting up against the side of your face as you’re trying to do the almost impossible task of lighting the znicz  (pronounced znich) or grave candle with a match, which is more the case in Poland in late October and early November from my experience, you can find more pleasure in eating nettles in a freezer while listening to One Direction, naked.

That aside, and on a serious note, it is a day of reflection for a great deal of people – most of whom are devoutly Roman Catholic. Poles, in fact, make the Irish look like die hard Marilyn Manson acolytes when it comes to religion and general compliance to the Church’s teachings.

So this is, in a word, All Saint’s Day in Poland.

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