Zaduszki - All Souls' Day
Zaduszki - All Souls’ Day
“Zaduszki” or All Souls’ Day is a modern-day equivalent of the Pagan Day of the Dead and is the traditional name given to the Catholic practice of remembering the dead.
It falls on 2nd November, one day after All Saints’ Day. On this day Catholics pray for all those who believe in Christ and who have left this world and now find themselves in purgatory.
According to Polish tradition, All Souls’ Day began back in the 12th century and, by the end of the 15th century, was known throughout the country. In 1915 Pope Benedict XV, at the request of the Benedictine abbot, gave permission for every priest to perform three masses on this day: one for a cause put forward by the faithful, one for all of the faithful who have passed away and one for a cause put forward by the Pope.
On All Souls’ Day Poles go to the cemeteries to visit the grave of those members of their families who have passed away, go to Mass and pray for the dead. There is a tradition on this day to light candles at the graves of the dead and also to place flowers, wreaths or another kind of decoration symbolizing remembrance of the dead.
The colloquial name, the Day of the Dead, was coined during the People’s Republic of Poland (1952 – 1989) and was seen as proof of the secularisation of the population. The use of this name, particularly when used to define the Celebration of All Saints’ Day (1st November), is deemed to be wrong in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church.
translated by: Sonia Clough