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Halloween vs All Saints' Day in Poland


sobieski 107 | 2,129
31 Oct 2013  #1
To my infinite regret I see that every year more and more Poles succumb to the Halloween madness. I won't go as far as the Polish Episcopate which thinks Halloween is from the devil...But still I very much prefer the Polish tradition of All Saints' Day, which is for me very moving and very human.

Halloween is so commercial, shallow, utterly American. Lidl for example is selling plastic devil's forks, which in the one near where I am living are selling really hot.

But that seems the trend everywhere on the Old Continent.
Harry
31 Oct 2013  #2
Halloween is so commercial, shallow, utterly American.

I hate it with a passion.
Polson 5 | 1,771
31 Oct 2013  #3
It's more a kid thing, we used to 'celebrate' it (Halloween) in France too a few years ago, but it's kinda dead now. As you said, very American.

Cemeteries in Poland on All Saints' Day, worth seeing once in your life. Or twice.
Sparks11 - | 335
31 Oct 2013  #4
Most American holidays are about selling things, it's also spreading across the world. I don't hate Halloween though. Allegedly it came from Ireland when people used to dress up to keep the spirits from taking them back to the land of the dead ( can't be bothered to Wiki this). I think that the idea of putting on a costume (you can make it yourself) and going to a party where there may be carved pumpkins sitting around is quite nice. I like the idea of celebrating the Autumn and the "death" of Summer. If you want to spend 500 zl. on a costume and buy a bunch of plastic decorations that's up to you but decorating the house and having a bit of fun is alright in my book. You can even get up and go clean the graves the next day if you wish.
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
31 Oct 2013  #5
I think that the idea of putting on a costume (you can make it yourself) and going to a party where there may be carved pumpkins sitting around is quite nice.

The Eve of All Saints, last night of October, the last night of the year in the old Celtic calendar, where it was Old Year's Night, a night for witches. A pagan holiday given a cursory baptism and sent on its way.

Thomas Cahill acknowledge that preserving in the Christendom of the "unique Irish psychological identity is one of the miracles of the Irish history". The Irish did not trouble themselves too much with eradicating the pagan influences (today's feast of Halloween is only the best know example of it), monks learned the Latin and even the Greek language, copied endangered Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian works of culture, but they also preserved their native literature. "Thanks to such copyists we inherited the rich treasure of the Old-Irish literature, the oldest preserved European literature written in the language of the local people." The Slavic Poland did not have such a good fortune as the Celtic Ireland.

The Christianizing of Ireland
Afrotea 1 | 3
31 Oct 2013  #6
Ancient Druid Holiday from Ireland!
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
31 Oct 2013  #7
Halloween is only superficially about shallow consumerism. The deeper meaning of the holiday is about acknowledging the reality of death. Children face their fears on Halloween, engage in adventurous pranks and gorge themselves on the candies that they so enjoy, but Halloween is even more fun for their elders. Adults indulge their passions for creativity, and satire, in the clever costuming that they devise for themselves, and at the house parties and nightclubs they attend a delicious atmosphere humor, and eroticism prevails. Halloween is a celebration of joy and sex in the face of death and it is grand!
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
31 Oct 2013  #8
Des, thank you for the excellent reminder of why All Saints' Day is far better than Halloween.
Sparks11 - | 335
31 Oct 2013  #9
Des, excellent description of why Halloween is great. Celebrate both tonight and tomorrow if you can.
p3undone 8 | 1,135
31 Oct 2013  #10
I never knew such piety existed in you delph ;)

Delph,how is all Saints traditionally celebrated in Poland,and what day does it fall on?
smurf 39 | 1,982
31 Oct 2013  #11
Number 1.
Halloween isn't American!

It's a Celtic festival to celebrate the end of the harvest/end of the year.

2. It was stolen and given a "new" meaning by the Christians.
It was (in Celtic tradition) the day when the border between the world of the living and the dead was at its closest. This is the reason people dress up in scary clothes....if they see an evil spirit they will frighten it back to the land of the dead.

Ancient Druid Holiday from Ireland!

+1

I repeat, it is not American! Really annoys me when Poles say to me "Oh Halloween, sure that's just a commercial thing from America. No it ain't.

Halloween back home is brilliant, a great time of fun and games and having the banter.

All soul's Day is pretty boring in fairness, the only good thing about it is the candlelight in the cemeteries at night time. Other than that it's a borefest, fecking shops are even open.

Halloween is a celebration of joy and sex in the face of death and it is grand!

Whoop!
PennBoy 76 | 2,437
31 Oct 2013  #12
Oh Halloween, sure that's just a commercial thing from America

Well the media shows Hollywood Halloween movies or the news newsreels from America so Poles get their information from that. I think it's a interesting holiday and best felt out in the suburbs, in the city it's not the same. Wonder if our pagan Slav ancestors had anything similar.
OP sobieski 107 | 2,129
31 Oct 2013  #13
Halloween is a plastic American thing, completely artificial. Maybe in Ireland it is still the real thing, I don't know.
But the Americans have hijacked it and gave it a bad name, that's for sure. All Saints' Day here in Poland I find pretty moving. We always light candles on Powązki for my wife's and my deceased family, and later proceed to Plac Inwalidów where we lay flowers at the monument for the First Polish Armoured Division (General Maczek's boys). Because they liberated my Flemish village in September 1944.

When I arrived in Poland almost 10 years ago Halloween was not so big...mainly an expat thing....But when I see now in our local Lidl plastic devil's forks for sale....hopeless.
Tamarisk
31 Oct 2013  #14
All the complaining about Halloween and the consumerism, but this being the first year I am spending in Poland for all Saints' Day and I am shocked at the consumerism tied to this day. People buying up loads of candles for resale from the local supermarkets. Plastic flowers everywhere. Sorry to burst your bubble if you think Poland is above this, but from my perspective it sure isn't.
smurf 39 | 1,982
31 Oct 2013  #15
Wonder if our pagan Slav ancestors had anything similar

The did indeed,

my Slavic ancestors, when still pagan (Poland was officially converted in 966AD), celebrated their dead by holding a special feast twice a year (spring and autumn) known as ''Dziady'' or Grandfathers. The fall feast was held at the end of October and beginning of November.

Bonfires were lit to show the sprits of the dead the way to their living relatives' dwellings.

Prayers were held and foodstuffs were prepared especially kasha, honey and eggs to celebrate the strips of ancestors and relatives, both to secured their favours and to ease their existence in the Underworld.

dariocaballeros.blogspot.com/2012/10/dziady-or-slavic-halloween.html

But when I see now in our local Lidl plastic devil's forks for sale

It is truly a terrible, terrible thing that people would dare to have some fun. Who do these curs think they are? We should organize a lynch mob and hang those that attempt to have fun in Poland from the closet yew trees.

People buying up loads of candles for resale from the local supermarkets. Plastic flowers everywhere. Sorry to burst your bubble if you think Poland is above this, but from my perspective it sure isn't.

hahah, good one, very true :)
kpc21 1 | 763
31 Oct 2013  #16
It's a Celtic festival to celebrate the end of the harvest/end of the year.

Not everyone know that Slavians (so also people from the area of Poland) more than 200 years ago also had such a festival:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dziady
Bieganski 17 | 901
1 Nov 2013  #17
I hate it with a passion.

I thought you were a proud multiculturalist. You should have been leading the celebrations on your street.
cms 9 | 1,272
1 Nov 2013  #18
Some base anti-Americanism here dressed up as moralizing about "commercial" halloween v pure All Saints Day. Remarkably Des is one of the few people talking sense !

All Saints day is very commercial in Poland - go to your families rural graveyard and you will see competition for the most tasteless candles including musical ones. I do like the tradition though and the sight of them at dusk.

In the US, Halloween is not just commercial - its a genuine time to have fun with your brothers and sisters and the other kids around. Its good to sit with the family and make your costumes and I dont see whats harmful about that. Trick or treating can be fun but I dont think it makes sense in Poland where all the adults dont know whats going on.
bluesfan - | 85
1 Nov 2013  #19
It's a Celtic festival to celebrate the end of the harvest/end of the year.

Absolutely.
Christians have stolen other Pagan traditions and re-branded them. These include 'Christmas' and 'Easter'...
Although Hallows Eve' is an old Pagan traditional, 'Trick or Treat' is an American addition which seems to be confusing some posters...
f stop 25 | 2,513
1 Nov 2013  #20
I think the popularity of Halloween in US is because of costumes. Candy is incidental, the usual commerce push.
I'm not sure why people like to get dressed up in something so different from what they would usually wear, but the attraction is undeniably there, throughout the history. Maybe it's a need for some theatre? Art?

Except for Marti Gras, US doesn't really have another holiday when people can get dressed in costumes.
Mexico has their Dia de los Muertos, other countries have the carnivals, masquerades, even Jews have Purim!

I started thinking about this costume phenomenon today, when the battle cry for the wild parties rung throughout the social media.

So I set up a photo shoot in my house (just a drop and few lights), and asked my friend, who is a young mother, to let her young mother friends know that I'll be happy to take pictures, free of charge (I have a bit of a reputation as a 'mercurial' artist which I deliberately cultivated so I don't get roped into shooting a wedding or an "event" ever again). I was surprised how many showed up! Families with young kids, ladies and babies all dressed up with nowhere to go. (Don't let the media fool you, interest in walking door to door trick-a-treating, especially with a toddler in your arms is definitely waning, as well as interest in opening the door and handing out candy). We had elaborate costumes, outrageous make up, wide-eyed kids, and no candy in sight. I got some incredible shots, everyone left early, nobody puked, gathering was an amazing success... I think I'll make this a yearly tradition.

If you are in US, you are welcome to steal this idea. ;)

As far as Polish All Saint's Day, I just don't know. It's a touching tradition, but dwelling on those I've lost, especially in the somber, Polish style, comes too often as is. Something about having an authorized, designated day for it makes me resist.
OP sobieski 107 | 2,129
1 Nov 2013  #21
In the US, Halloween is not just commercial

That is as it may be. But it just does not fit in the centuries-old traditions of the Old Continent. Here it is just...plastic, artificial, cheap and loud. In other words, American.
f stop 25 | 2,513
1 Nov 2013  #22
But it just does not fit in the centuries-old traditions of the Old Continent

that might be true. But, as others pointed out, those traditions are constantly changing, and with each shift comes the same lament for the good "old ways".
WielkiPolak 58 | 1,034
1 Nov 2013  #23
I don't like any traditions/celebrations that either, were commercialized or where created to make money. I mean, I celebrate Christmas and Easter, but I don't like what they have turned in to.

I cannot stand this ideology they have created, for example with Christmas, where you feel subconsciously obliged to spend money on presents, and if you don't, then you feel guilty and cheap.

I actually find Halloween to just be a bit of fun, for kids. I don't ever like the term celebrate Halloween or Happy Halloween.

I do however feel, that it is wrong to advertise stuff at children. Most stuff, be it at Christmas, Easter, Halloween or whatever, is advertised at children, because they are easy targets, and silly parents, who don't want to disappoint their 'joys,' often buy them what they want, to make them 'happy' [even though it's fake happiness].

My question would be 'should there be some sort of boundaries put on advertising to children, or would you say it is a free capitalist market and therefore the responsibility of parents to prevent their kids watching certain stuff? The parent is not forced to buy anything, but children are easy targets, much like older people, for giving many to various charities that seem to appear out of nowhere and always visit them. Perhaps children should not be targeted below a certain age? I don't know, what do you think?
f stop 25 | 2,513
1 Nov 2013  #24
You make some very good points, WielkiPolak. However, TV is full of stuff that is not based in reality (zombies, for example?), and we have the power to differentiate what's real and what's a game.

I'm not sure what you are proposing - ban on candy advertisements? Although, I had a feeling that sooner or later a tighter restriction will be proposed on advertisements of Burger King and ...butter. Silly, no?

The solution is, as always, education. In free market economy, marketing targets what works. Our culture, and that includes parents, has to change first.
Meathead 5 | 470
3 Nov 2013  #25
Halloween isn't American!

Smurf, Halloween was brought to America by the Irish Catholics. You have any idea how many people of Irish descent live in the States? About a quadzillion. You went east, you shoulda went west with the rest of your brethren.

But it's also the first day of winter, that's why the ancient Britains picked November 1st for their remembrance of the dead holiday.
Astoria - | 155
3 Nov 2013  #26
Celtic All Hallows' Eve is closely related to Slavic Zaduszki. Zaduszki, an ancient pagan festival, has nothing to do with All Saints Day, a Catholic holiday. All Saints Day celebrates martyrs for Catholic faith, not dead relatives. All Saints Day is on November 1, Zaduszki on November 2. Poles often confuse the two holidays. For some unknown reason All Saints Day is a state holiday in Poland, while more ancient and more Polish Zaduszki is not.
jon357 63 | 14,121
3 Nov 2013  #27
All Saints Day celebrates martyrs for Catholic faith, not dead relatives. All Saints Day is on November 1, Zaduszki on November 2

All Souls' Day is stil in the religious calendar. For some reason people confuse the 2 days.

A lot better nowadays that the pretend 'saints' festival has been eclipsed by something more traditional.
f stop 25 | 2,513
3 Nov 2013  #28
From wiki:
Hallowmas, also known as the Triduum of All Hallows (Triduum of All Saints), is the triduum encompassing the Western Christian observances of All Hallows' Eve (Hallowe'en), All Saints' Day (All Hallows') and All Souls' Day, which last from October 31 to November 2 annually. Hallowmas is a time to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints, and all faithful departed Christians. The dates of Hallowmas were established in the 8th century AD.
jon357 63 | 14,121
3 Nov 2013  #29
The dates of Hallowmas were established in the 8th century AD.

Fitting beautifully with Samhain/Dziady and of course no coincidence ;-)
WielkiPolak 58 | 1,034
3 Nov 2013  #30
I think f stop is right, educating parents is the key, but look around, some of them are lost causes. Heck most of them are. These days parents have this notion that if you don't give a kid something they want, it's cruel. Then later in life, these kids turn in to adults, and become spoilt, thinking they should have anything they want to have. They also learn that life is all about owning material possessions.


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