Readers expecting a wild Halloween full of costume parties and debauchery may be surprised to learn that in Poland the ‘holiday’ is completely overshadowed by the rather sobering, sombre proceedings of November 1st and 2nd every year.
Known nationally as All Saints’ Day (Dzień Wszystkich Świętych) and All Souls’ Day (Dzień Zaduszny, or Dzień Wszystkich Zmarłych) respectively, these two days of the calendar year are dedicated to prayer and paying tribute to the deceased by visiting their graves. In accordance with tradition, Catholic families all over Poland make pilgrimages to the resting places of their relatives, tending the graves with a care that is truly touching, before laying wreaths, flowers and candles that will be kept lit throughout the length of the holiday. Across Poznań, you will also see memorials commemorating deaths in conflicts throughout the centuries, such as the Garrison Cemetery on Citadel Hill, all adorned with wreaths and candles, placed there by strangers with as much affection as if they were laid there for a loved one.
Practical Info for All Saints' DayNote that November 1st is a bank holiday; only public transportation and emergency response employees are obliged to work this day. Poznań's Catholic cemeteries, in contrast, will be open until last guest, with special tramlines running frequently and until late at night in order to accommodate visitors. Use poznan.jakdojade.pl to find connections. Don't worry, candles of all varieties can be bought outside the cemetery gates, as well as flowers - fresh or fake, traditional sweets and roasted nuts.
So which cemetery should you visit? Below we list our favourites in Poznań. Certainly the best time to visit is right at dusk, but note that on November 1st the crowds are at their peak just after sundown and until about 20:00. For smaller crowds, consider visiting the following day on November 2nd or even later in the week.