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Does Halloween in Poland even exist?

Posted by Natalia Juszczak on 31/10/2019
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Every year, Halloween in Poland raises a lot of controversies. So is this holiday celebrated in Poland? Does anybody actually dress up? Let’s find out, if you should start preparing for a Halloween party!

What’s the origin of Halloween?

Halloween is a holiday associated with the United States. It actually comes from an old Celtic tradition that came to America with immigrants from Ireland in the 19th century. In the Celts calendar, October 31 is the last day of the year in which the earth prepares for the arrival of winter and celebrates the end of the fertility cycle. Back in the times, it was believed that at night, the spirits would go out to the surface so that those who are still alive could sort everything out with them. If someone passed away unexpectedly, it was the only chance to say “goodbye”. It was also a day of reconciliation between Good and Evil. The Celts were gathering around bonfires and making food sacrifices to the god of death. This particular performance took place so that the ghosts would leave their world peacefully and not harass the living.

Ghost costume for Halloween party
In 19th century, it was believed that during the last night of October, ghosts would try to reach to the living to sort some unsolved things out

So why do we associate Halloween with the United States?

The main reason is simply because the United States celebrates it the most. Although it is not an official holiday, its popularity is estimated in second place, after Christmas. Halloween is also popular in Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Although there is still a lot of controversy around this holiday in Poland, more and more people are starting to celebrate it.

1st and 2nd of November – “our Polish Halloween”

Despite the growing popularity of Halloween every year, even among the younger generation in Poland, there is still a belief that November 1 and 2 are more essential days than October 31. Why? Because during these days two traditional holidays are celebrated in Poland – All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. The first one is officially a non-working day. Poles spend this time with their family visiting those who are no longer among us. Cemeteries on November 1 and 2 in Poland are surprisingly beautiful. Families pray to the dead against the background of burning candles on every gravestone. These days are about spending time with loved ones to focus on commemorating those who are gone. It’s one of the most beautiful Polish traditions.

Candle flame
The first two days of November in Poland are all about honoring the memory of the dead

The actual Halloween in Poland

The name of the holiday comes from the expression “All Hallows’ Eve “or All Saints’ Eve, but the tradition of celebrating it is so different from All Saint’s Day that it is difficult to disagree with the belief that these holidays cannot be combined. However, more and more Polish children walk around the houses and shout “trick or treat”. While wandering around the family neighborhoods, here and there you will see illuminated, cut pumpkins and other “scary” decorations. But this custom is just entering Polish traditions, so every year you will expect more of these embellishments! Of course, the most popular costumes among children are witches, monsters, ghosts and fairies. Adults dress up as ghosts, zombies, vampires and skulls during Halloween parties. If you’ll go to the city centre during Halloween, there’s a huge possibility you’ll see a lot of dressed-up people.

Karaoke show at the halloween party
Celebrating Halloween in Poland is getting more and more popular every year

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