Monday, October 31, 2011

finding inspiration in cemeteries

Tombstones at a cemetery in Poland [via istockphoto]
I am not the type of person to hang out in cemeteries. The only things I love about Halloween are carving pumpkins, making costumes for my children when they were young and accompanying them on their trick or treat adventures which did NOT include haunted houses or cemeteries! I went to a haunted house once and it scarred me for life. So you can imagine how I felt about cemeteries! But that all changed years ago when I was in Europe, visiting my daughter in Luxembourg. She had a week off from school and we decided to travel to Poland so she could finally meet her great aunt and cousins on my mother's side of the family. Needless to say, it was a very emotional trip in more ways than one.
candles in a Polish cemetery on All Saint's Day [via istockphoto]
We were still in Poland on November 1, All Saint's Day (Dzień Wszystkich Świętych). This day along with All Soul's Day (Dzień Zaduszny) on November 2 are dedicated to prayer and paying tribute to the deceased by visiting their graves. So when my cousins asked if we wanted to go with them to the cemetery, I couldn't say no even though I wanted to. So off we went, stopping first at the store to purchase flowers and candles to place on the graves. Of course, the fear was building up inside of me as we got closer and closer to the cemetery. I had no idea what to expect upon arrival. I just knew that I was not looking forward to visiting dead relatives!
a cemetery in Poland on All Saint's day [via istockphoto]
We entered the cemetery and to my surprise, it wasn't a scary place at all! There were flowers, candles and people everywhere—praying, talking, and laughing as they reminisced about their relatives that have passed away. Hundred of candles were glowing and casting beautiful shadows on the tombstones and the air was filled with the heavenly smell of flowers and incense. The whole place was very tranquil and peaceful—something I never expected to find in a cemetery! And to my amazement, my fear quickly disappeared.

Cemeteries still aren't my favorite places to visit but I no longer fear them as I did. And I might even visit them from time to time, looking for inspiration!

Happy Halloween and All Saint's Day! 


  1. Thanks for sharing your interesting story of the cemeteries in Ploand on All Saints Day!

    Happy Halloween!!

  2. I didn't know that about All Saints Day. Thanks for sharing! Great read.