All Saints' Day (officially the Solemnity of All Saints ) is predominately a Catholic holiday but has become a national holiday in historically Catholic countries. Traditionally this day celebrates the departed who have not been purified and have reached heaven. Wikipedia has a history on this, including the origination of the holiday, including how it became celebrated on November 1st (moved from May 13 by Pope Gregory III).
In Poland the traditions are to attend mass, spend the day with family, and remember those who have passed on. They also visit the cemeteries, and the tradition is to light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives. I was invited to go to the cemeteries with friends. I really didn't know what to expect. I knew there would be candles, but didn't know how beautiful it would be. In the States our cemeteries have the headstone...so was trying to picture a bunch of candles on the headstone and grass. In Poland the graves are much more grand, I don't know how to describe it....so here are a few pictures.
sarcophagus is raised and more ornate than just the headstones we have in America. The candles are also placed in holders (I was wondering how they stayed lit).
A friend places a candle on his grandfather's grave. Then you spend some time remembering the person you came to visit.
If you cannot make it to a cemetery where a loved one is buried....there are central spots you can place a candle to remember someone. Usually there is a cross and the candles are placed around it. My camera doesn't take great night pictures from a distance....but I hope you can see the images.
I just thought it was such a beautiful tradition. I was happy to be a part of it. I know in the States people light a candle to remember someone...but I've never seen anything quite like this.